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denny
May. 6, 2007, 06:45 PM
There are two ways to look at this sport, the way it is, and the way we wish it would be. If right now it`s a sport in trouble, and it`s hard not to think that, with so many deaths and crippling injuries, then we can either wail about the fact, or we can try to fix it.
How can we fix it?
Get involved. Join the USEA, join the USEF, and speak up and don`t let other people make all the decisions that affect you. or your children, or your horses.
I rode in my first event in 1962, and the sport of 2007 is nothing like the sport of 45 years ago. All sports evolve, and they do so because of people.
You can let other people run things, and then you have to take what you get, or you can decide to be a player.
Being a player takes a degree of courage, because you have to sometimes take stances on issues. You can`t "hide".
But if you are smart, and analytical, and logical, and if you are compassionate about horses, which you are, then other people will have to take you seriously.
I have a friend who said to me last year, "Eventing has lost its compass."
I agree with him, sort of, except for one thing. There is no such thing as "eventing" Eventing is only what people make it, no more, no less.
So my question is this: Are you going to sit by and let "them" decide what eventing shall be, or are you going to get involved in the fray?
It`s really that simple. And that hard.

RiptonScotch
May. 6, 2007, 06:53 PM
Couldn't have said it better...I saw a post online earlier about a vet-check in the middle of our tests...I understand that at lower levels, and even some of the larger levels thats a little rediculous sounding, but how rediculous is it when you save a horse's life...Say TrainingLvl and up, smack-dab in the middle is a little stop. you stop, get vet-checked, then your on your way again.Whatever time you spend tehre, is taken off your total time at the end. it's realyl not that big of a deal....Also, why not go back to 3-days, or even 2-days...alot of shows are run all in one day,Dressage, 1 hr, XC, 1.5 hours, stadium.....it's crazy.You barely have time for your horse to breathe, while yu change tack, before your warmingup for the enxt phase!
Whats everyone else think are some good ideas/ways to change our sport? We should all rally up a big list, im sure nobody knows eventers better then us eventers do, right? Or our horses for that fact!

TB or not TB?
May. 6, 2007, 07:07 PM
I just watched Rolex on the TV with my mom. She was pretty horrified (except for Teddy which was definitely the bright spot of that broadcast). She's not a horseperson but she supports me in my love for them. Halfway through the XC broadcast she turned to me and said "Honey, I'm so glad you're not doing this sport right now."

It's very awkward trying to justify and explain something that you're not even sure is true - that eventing isn't really LIKE this, that something has gone wrong. Best thing I could do was pop in a tape of Burghley 2001. It was like watching a different sport - my mom was actually cheering, and even though there were a few spills, she wasn't worried sick the whole time, and was on the edge of her seat in the SJ. That's how it's supposed to be.

So I'm a nobody. Got benched here for a few years because I was sick, so no horse and no $$, certainly no name. But I still have dreams, and I'm young enough to maybe see some of them through. I think it's time to get heard.

arnika
May. 6, 2007, 07:09 PM
Very true Denny. I've been thinking similar thoughts myself over the past few days and trying to think of ways I could be useful to the sport, not just myself. Jump judging and volunteering is all well and good but I can do more.

YankeeLawyer
May. 6, 2007, 07:18 PM
Great post, but....it would be very helpful if knowledgeable people like the OP would provide some sort of roadmap outlining suggested ways of improving the sport.

For example, I thought that changes were made to the advanced-level format in an effort to make it safer (I am not an eventer but I recall something about the roads and tracks and steeplechase phases being eliminated from the XC phase or some such). Do you think the changes have made it less safe in reality? Because they seem to have to gallop faster over smaller jumps than they used to, but as I said I am not an eventer.

And I probably am going to risk being royally flamed here, but watching Rolex today I was a little surprised that a number of riders did not seem very fit. I don't mean just that they weren't thin, because I understand that people can be fit without being a rail. But they seemed truly not fit, and given that that is a 4-star event I would have thought the riders would have had a better fitness level. By contrast, there were some exemplary pairs like Karen O'Connor and Teddy.

Eventer13
May. 6, 2007, 07:27 PM
For example, I thought that changes were made to the advanced-level format in an effort to make it safer (I am not an eventer but I recall something about the roads and tracks and steeplechase phases being eliminated from the XC phase or some such). Do you think the changes have made it less safe in reality? Because they seem to have to gallop faster over smaller jumps than they used to, but as I said I am not an eventer.


Not as I understand it. It was to decrease the amount of land needed to run an event, with the bigger goal of keeping it in the Olympics. Not a safety issue.

As for unfit riders... yes, Becky is overweight. But most of the riders at Rolex are quite slim. And the way I see it, if you're galloping and jumping for 11-12 minutes straight, you need some fitness, right? Or else you're going to get toward the end of the course and not be able to help your horse out.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
May. 6, 2007, 07:32 PM
I'm all for being involved, but damned if I know what would make the sport better or safer. It's not like anyone is out there conspiring to make it less safe, is it? Undoubtedly there are unintended consequences to changes which have been made in the past 30 years, but there have been consequences to the suburbanization of the US, and the increased popularity of eventing, and, and and.

I'm not sure the solution lies in how many people are involved. It lies in how well do the involved parties think, consider options, listen to input, and be willing to think outside the box and considering the wisdom of the ages and aged.

Nexta
May. 6, 2007, 07:37 PM
Back 30 years ago the rumor was that eventing was where you went if you had balls and were not good enough to do hunters, jumpers or dressage.

Then things cleaned up and eventers were better riders than most.

Now eventing again is the place where folks who cannot do hunter, jumpers or dressage worth a crap come and ride.

Instant gratifacation is the modern mantra --good riding and horsemanship is non existant

RiptonScotch
May. 6, 2007, 07:47 PM
In my opinion, that's not neccessairly true...Three phases:
1) Dressage...Okay, so the movements aren't as difficult as level4 of actual dressage, but if you can't get your basic lateral movements flowing, or your horse to take a true contact, your not going anywhere in eventing anyways...
2) XC, well you only do that really if you are an eventer.And man, I have to add it, my boyfriend once told me that riding isn't a sport, and takes HOW MUCH WWORK TO SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING...I took him with me to an event, and he was a little shocked.Then we went to the Rolex.Now eevry time I mention my dreams, he responds with," Babe, it's gonna take alot of work, and ALOT of balls.But don't give up"....It's amazing at the change.He even admits he'd like to try it-INFRONT OF HIS FRIENDS!!..
ANYWAYS..
3)Stadium....Okay, so if you can't realyl do dressage, getting contact,etc. your flatwork is going to suck...without good flatwork, your jumping is going to suck.If you can't excel in jumpers, IE. taking rails,going off course,etc..Your still not going to make a good eventer...

As for hunters, it depends on the situation...If your horse is too strung out/athletic/etc, for the hunter ring, or jumpers isnt exciting enuogh, eventing just MAY BE the place for you:P Cheers

Eventer13
May. 6, 2007, 07:51 PM
Back 30 years ago the rumor was that eventing was where you went if you had balls and were not good enough to do hunters, jumpers or dressage.

Then things cleaned up and eventers were better riders than most.

Now eventing again is the place where folks who cannot do hunter, jumpers or dressage worth a crap come and ride.

Instant gratifacation is the modern mantra --good riding and horsemanship is non existant

You've got to be kidding me. Especially about the horsemanship part.

Longspot
May. 6, 2007, 07:52 PM
Denny,

I've been sharing the exact same thoughts.

west5
May. 6, 2007, 08:07 PM
Now eventing again is the place where folks who cannot do hunter, jumpers or dressage worth a crap come and ride.

Instant gratifacation is the modern mantra --good riding and horsemanship is non existant

Excuse me :no: I mean excuse you!:eek:

Please speak for yourself and not for me. (As I compete in all the disciplines you mention)

Nasty generalizations do nothing helpful.

Gnep
May. 6, 2007, 08:17 PM
I have the feeling that we have to reevent the sport.
The past had is bad times, but htere were a lot of very good things.
It is realy worth the efford to have a look at what was good..

What I see right now, we are getting the bill of the short format handed and the changes it brought to the X-C.
Last Year after Aachen I was able to watch pictures from friends, professional Photographers. I was shocked, how many of the top riders had hail maries,where they were just hanging on for dear live and sheer luck kept them going. If more worrisome were the interviews, how many explained that they had to take it easy in the last third, because their horses were tired.

If one looks at some of those lines at the Rolex, it was like stadium jumping with solid jumps.
I think we can not mix X-C with stadium, those lines do not give room for error, not the refusal or run out error, but if things go wrong, wrong take of, sticky take of, a tiny little bit to much speed, to slow, just a wink out of balance etc.
Nobody asks such lines in stadium jumping, even at the Grand Prix Level.

Interestingly the Super Pony ( karen should get him the Superman Cape ) was the one that handleded all those lines the best. Is that horse the future for what X-C has become?

west5
May. 6, 2007, 08:17 PM
Denny,

I am greatly encouraged that you post here and encourage intelligent discussion.

I think the "average eventer" feels a little lost in how to be heard. Also, as expressed in many posts in the recent threads there seems to be a big gap between those of us who compete Training and below vs. Preliminary and above. It is almost as if they are two different sports and I for one do not always feel comfortable commenting on divisions that I don't compete in.

Can you give us more of a "road map" of how to be heard and what you feel the role of the "average eventer" might be.

I already belong to USEA & USEF

Thanks.

I disagree with the mini-vet check during cross-country mentioned by RiptonScotch -- not meant in any personal way -- just don't think it is feasible or helpful particularly at Training level.

denny
May. 6, 2007, 08:20 PM
I`ll give an example of what I mean when I say if we let other people run things, then we have to take what we get.
After three horses died in two weekend`s worth of four star eventing, there are going to be all kinds of rationalizations about "accidents can happen slipping on your porch steps, etc, etc, etc,etc."
But four star eventing, as it is presently constituted, has not simply the potential to kill horses, it is currently killing them. That is a fact.
So we can say, "Well, that`s the way it`s always been, it`s very sad, and life goes on" That`s the easy way out.
Or we can say, "As a person who loves horses, I am finding this unacceptable. I want the FEI, the USEF, the USEA, to have a national or international symposium aimed at creating measures which provide a greater safety net for these animals who trust us to keep them from harm.
I do not accept the status quo, and I am going to fight to make my voice heard."
That`s much harder, because it forces personal involvement.
The choice is each of ours to make.

PnkPanthr
May. 6, 2007, 08:29 PM
With the elimination of Roads and Tracks and Steeplechase, there is something huge missing from the sport we all love. THIS IS NOT TO BASH ANYONE. I feel that the horses probably are not thoroughly warmed up for the upperlevels. not only did it go as a endurance thing, but a warm up as well. i think that we should spend more time thoroughly warming up our horses so that injuries dont happen as often. do gymnasts just go out and do those stellar jumps and movements? or do they warm up first? if your horse could do roads and tracks, steeplechase, roads and tracks, and THEN XC one one day, then you can spend a little more time warming up so your horses tendons, ligaments, and muscles wont strain. I at 15, dont have many opportunites to help, but i am currently a member of the USEA and competing at Training level. I volunteer whenever i am not competing. I am responsible for the Web Design and upkeep of the Flora Lea Farm Website(which hold two USEA horse trials a year) and Email(yes i desgined the website) Im sure i could do more, but i dont know what.

YankeeLawyer
May. 6, 2007, 08:30 PM
As for unfit riders... yes, Becky is overweight. But most of the riders at Rolex are quite slim. And the way I see it, if you're galloping and jumping for 11-12 minutes straight, you need some fitness, right? Or else you're going to get toward the end of the course and not be able to help your horse out.

That was my point, though I wasn't referring to any particular rider as I do not know all of them by name.

PnkPanthr
May. 6, 2007, 08:32 PM
I`ll give an example of what I mean when I say if we let other people run things, then we have to take what we get.
After three horses died in two weekend`s worth of four star eventing, there are going to be all kinds of rationalizations about "accidents can happen slipping on your porch steps, etc, etc, etc,etc."
But four star eventing, as it is presently constituted, has not simply the potential to kill horses, it is currently killing them. That is a fact.
So we can say, "Well, that`s the way it`s always been, it`s very sad, and life goes on" That`s the easy way out.
Or we can say, "As a person who loves horses, I am finding this unacceptable. I want the FEI, the USEF, the USEA, to have a national or international symposium aimed at creating measures which provide a greater safety net for these animals who trust us to keep them from harm.
I do not accept the status quo, and I am going to fight to make my voice heard."
That`s much harder, because it forces personal involvement.
The choice is each of ours to make.



denny that is great..but how could one do this? and we must get a lot of people for them even to consider it...COME ON COTH...LETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

YankeeLawyer
May. 6, 2007, 08:35 PM
or do they warm up first? if your horse could do roads and tracks, steeplechase, roads and tracks, and THEN XC one one day, then you can spend a little more time warming up so your horses tendons, ligaments, and muscles wont strain.

This is the kind of thing I was wondering about.

annikak
May. 6, 2007, 08:37 PM
Denny,

What I wonder is this...and where are the stats for... other horses before Utube, before the internet, before we are able to share the inside information with each other? (I am as guilty as the next person...I admit that, I look to this BB in particular for information, and usually get it!)

I think that if we were able to get the information we might just find out that some of this is actually just the way it is. I know of numerous ULR that had horses die while competing. Was this just a dirty little secret?

I am in NO way supportive of pushing our horses past their limits, nor running them past their abilities. But...this sport evolved from the military, which tested bravery of both horse and rider, and I just wonder a bit...is the current state and stakes greater because we can communicate so much better with each other?

Please- no flames in my direction, I hate what has happened the past several days- but do wonder just a bit. And...perhaps short format has something to do with it...but I sadly think that is a done deal.

Noctis
May. 6, 2007, 08:40 PM
Denny, you've said what has been on my mind for many months, years even. I love this sport, my sport. I'm not the best, hell, right now I'm thrilled to do training level stuff due to a bad injury and all the related baggage. But you know what? We DO have what it takes to fix and figure out what NEEDS to be fixed in our sport. Whether it be jump design, rules, what-have-you. I don't know what needs to change, but I think we all know something does. Weatherford brought up a great thing about safer jump flags. We've all talked about better, different, or at least no false, ground lines, especially in relation to rotational falls. There are always going to be freak accidents, that is true, but I agree, we need to figure out whats going so wrong now. Our riders are amazing for the most part, the horses are phenoms, yet something is missing.

I for one, am not sure how best to help, or who to talk to, I've been out of the "bigger time" loop for a while now (after my jr/yr times ended), but that doesn't mean I am any less wanting to be involved, just kind of lost the how, and feeling very isolated in a non-eventing area (at least really close by). I think that might be what a lot of us lower level riders feel, even if we've competed much higher in the past. So where is the best place for us? I am willing to stand up and work, but just don't know where.

HappyHoppingHaffy
May. 6, 2007, 08:44 PM
Could it be that there is a big emphasis on the actual event and proper conditioning may be lacking? (This is a big whatif...I don't know how the pros are conditioning) But, I rarely see any tips on conditioning schedules. Back when I was a Pony Clubber we had great pressure to make certain our horses were conditioned. Now that I'm a grown-up and in an eventing barn I really don't see anyone conditioning their horses.
Are there general guidelines on conditioning for the different levels out there? Any general guidelines on ideal heartrates, breaths per minute, etc. for different levels? (I'm thinking mostly for the x-country phase, but I suppose this my also be appropriate following dressage and stadium?)...

PiedPiper
May. 6, 2007, 08:45 PM
I agree that I think we are seeing what a lack of the long format is doing. It isn't a bash but I agree with many a few years back that we rushed into this change without any real thought to it. Now cross country is too technical and too similar to stadium and we aren't allowing any "breather" jumps in between.

vineyridge
May. 6, 2007, 08:47 PM
Gnep is on to something important. The bill for the short format is coming due; riders that shouldn't be moving up yet are moving up on horses that shouldn't be run at that level. Horses are being run too often. There seems to be a really big difference between a true CCI and all the other forms of eventing. He's also right about showjumping over solid obstacles during XC. WHY in the name of all that's holy do the courses have to be so unforgiving and so technical? At Badminton, it looked as if a number of riders opted for the slow routes, and still were able to do fairly well. Not so at Rolex.

One example of a horse that was questionable for Rolex. Antigua is 18, for pete's sake; if Rolex had been long format, do you think she'd have gone? She was spun on Sunday. Edited to correct my misinformation. Antigua was withdrawn by his owner before SJ, after a superb dressage test and a very fast and clear cross country. Will showed consummate horsesmanship by withdrawing and not forcing the horse to continue on a minor injury.

Bad decisions, conditioning issues, lack of specific information makes horses and riders the guinea pigs for a sport that has drastically changed. The learning curve has had to be very steep and it's still not clear just what needs to be learned.

I'd love to see data on whether the slow options are sometimes/usually/always the kiss of death. It ought to be possible to take a slow option and make up the time somewhere else on course.

PiedPiper
May. 6, 2007, 08:51 PM
Could it be that there is a big emphasis on the actual event and proper conditioning may be lacking? (This is a big whatif...I don't know how the pros are conditioning) But, I rarely see any tips on conditioning schedules. Back when I was a Pony Clubber we had great pressure to make certain our horses were conditioned. Now that I'm a grown-up and in an eventing barn I really don't see anyone conditioning their horses.
Are there general guidelines on conditioning for the different levels out there? Any general guidelines on ideal heartrates, breaths per minute, etc. for different levels? (I'm thinking mostly for the x-country phase, but I suppose this my also be appropriate following dressage and stadium?)...

THere have been multiple post here over the last few years about conditioning schedules and such. I can tell you that the pros that I have worked with all had serious and well researched/founded conditioning schedules.

Most eventers I know in Area II take conditioning very seriously and do not run their horses if they aren't fit enough. I do think that more competitors are competing more often at all the levels with less foxhunting thrown in. I think Jimmy's article in Practical Horsemen was a great reflection on some of the changes that have occurred and where we really should rethink.

Plus the sport is MUCH more popular now with more weekend warriors than ever before. I do think we are seeing, as well, a lack of riders coming up/graduating from Pony Club and the like and think this is a detrimental to all of the sports. What one learned through PC is now having to be taught from trainers and barns and so a lot gets missed.

Avra
May. 6, 2007, 08:53 PM
So maybe we should come up with a list of questions/ suggestions/ proposals, individually print them out and sign them (with USEA/ USEF numbers if possible, of course) and mail them to someone? The newly formed Safety Committee? with a copy to USEA's Magazine? That would be a start to doing something, right?

BarbB
May. 6, 2007, 08:53 PM
Best thing I could do was pop in a tape of Burghley 2001. It was like watching a different sport - my mom was actually cheering, and even though there were a few spills, she wasn't worried sick the whole time, and was on the edge of her seat in the SJ. That's how it's supposed to be.

So I'm a nobody. Got benched here for a few years because I was sick, so no horse and no $$, certainly no name. But I still have dreams, and I'm young enough to maybe see some of them through. I think it's time to get heard.


I think that a while ago, I'm not sure exactly when, we came to a fork in the road. One way was to continue the big galloping fences and the other way was to go the 'more technical' route and make xc more difficult. There seemed to be a consensus that speed and height and width had reached their maximum and so the way to make it 'more difficult' was to make it technical.
Now we have fixed show jumping on a xc course.
I previously posted about watching a rider go thru the ducks at Rolex. I have seen longer approaches and less twisty routes in tough show jumping competitions.

I think we need to go a back to that fork in the road and take the other path and keep the big galloping courses. There is nothing wrong with testing the bravery and fitness of a horse and rider in a more fitting way. Galloping those big fences took guts from both.

We don't need show jumping in a xc venue over deadly fences followed by show jumping in an arena over post and rails. It is deadly.....and quite honestly it is boring. Why do the same thing twice? Can some of these horses even gallop up and down hill anymore?.....you can't tell when the riders have to put the brakes on every couple of minutes for another ridiculous combination where knowledgable spectators hold their breath for each horse.

Just my opinion. I'm a weenie over the hill rider, but I have been a fan of this sport since I was a child......not so much today. :no:

denny
May. 6, 2007, 08:56 PM
One more thing, a bit of background,
Bill Mc Collom is a prominent figure in downhill ski racing, and the husband of an eventer.
He told me that sometime in the mid 80s there were fatal accidents in downhill racing to the extent that the international ski association (I`m guessing that it`s like our FEI) got a warning from the IOC. The IOC told the ski racing group that if they didn`t clean up their act, they would be out of the Olympics, that the IOC would not tolerate a sport in which participants were being killed.
Since that time, there have been no fatalities in sanctioned races, Bill said.
So I don`t have any idea what the ski association actually did, but whatever it was, it put safety on the "front burner."
Likewise, I don`t know specifically what eventing should do, but the thing which is the precursor to a solution is to make safety a front burner issue, which I do not think is currently the case.
It wasn`t with skiing, either, until the IOC forced the issue.
Maybe the IOC will force the issue with the FEI, maybe they`ll simply drop eventing from the Olympics with no warning, or maybe they won`t take any action at all.
But that isn`t the point Bill Mc Collom was making. The point was that if forced, improvements are possible. If we really do want these accidents to be much less frequent (nobody thinks they can be totally eliminated, I suspect), then we need to force the issue. Are we willing to do that?
Not to figure out HOW to fix some of the problems, but to create an atmosphere where the leaders of the sport decide they need to make real improvements to protect horses (and riders).

saratoga
May. 6, 2007, 08:58 PM
I After three horses died in two weekend`s worth of four star eventing, there are going to be all kinds of rationalizations about "accidents can happen slipping on your porch steps, etc, etc, etc,etc."
But four star eventing, as it is presently constituted, has not simply the potential to kill horses, it is currently killing them. That is a fact.
.

I hate this type of rationalization too- I hear it all the time with horse racing in particular. It is interesting that someone of Denny's caliber thinks this way because SO MANY people do rationalize the problems with their sport and get so incredibly defensive about it.

I am an endurance rider, (which I know Denny is too) another sport that can be dangerous for the horses. In that sport, I think going slower is the key to avoiding a lot of risk to the horse so I personally never race or even Top Ten. I've only evented up to training level in eventing so I really dont have any ideas beyond the obvious of making the x-c "easier". But I dont know, it seems the whole thing with AT was a very bad judgment call on her part-not necessarily a reflection of the sport in general.

PnkPanthr
May. 6, 2007, 08:59 PM
count me in

ToucheToujour
May. 6, 2007, 09:00 PM
Want to put safety on the forefront?

Get the Young Riders to hold a conference on safety, improvements, course design, and preparation for events. Get the NEXT generation of eventers all hot and bothered about this, and everyone at the top will sit up, listen, and put it on their front (not to mention, it makes for great PR if you can talk about how involved YRs are).

I agree. Eventing is what we make of it. Let's make it better.

PnkPanthr
May. 6, 2007, 09:01 PM
Are we willing to do that?
Not to figure out HOW to fix some of the problems, but to create an atmosphere where the leaders of the sport decide they need to make real improvements to protect horses (and riders).


yep count me in on this

TB or not TB?
May. 6, 2007, 09:03 PM
So what needs to happen to change the sport?

That's a semi-rhetorical question. Clearly we need to figure out what elements are flawed. There's already a ton of discussion on that. As much as I would like to point to the easy answer of the Big Bad Short Format, there's probably more to it than that. :uhoh: It may be easier to look to the "old style" eventing and see what was really working well there. I think also we should focus on *why* the parts that are harmful were instated so we don't just treat a symptom instead of the cause.

There's been much talk of ways to improve - this is definitely the next step: coming up with solutions. I don't really think either of these parts are terribly difficult.

What's hard is of course doing something with this information. I think that's where we're all stuck. Every idea I come up with seems either completely useless or downright silly. If I were to make a public statement that I would not compete internationally until things changed, I don't think this would have a huge impact because frankly, who cares? (Except for my numerous COTH fans). Writing letters to magazines might put something out there - that's the best I've thought of. Other ideas ranged from signing petitions to boycotting events, which doesn't seem at all the right direction. Money talks, reputation talks. For those of us who have neither, where do we go?

So then I decided I should simply become a person that has money and/or reputation. Only, Mr. Frodo, by the time that happens, there might not be a Shire to go back to.

So I'm kind of back to where I started, with more to think about. I ask you all this: what is the driving force behind what's happened to our sport?

ToucheToujour
May. 6, 2007, 09:13 PM
Letters to USEF, USEA, Practical Horseman, etc? If we inudate them with letters to publications, then they may have to respond with at least how they're planning on changing it.

PhoenixFarm
May. 6, 2007, 09:26 PM
Please tell me the new party line on the short format isn't now about "land restirctions." This was sold as a bill of goods as all about the safety and longevity of the horses. Anyone here feel that the safety and longevity of the horses has been improved in the last two years? Anyone?

I was the person who stood up at the convention two years ago and handed in the petition in favor of the long format. I was the person who had several big name riders then attack me, tell me I didn't know anything, and be dismissive and rude. I got a lot of thanks from signers of the petition. I even got a thanks from Kyra and Jo. But in the end, I don't know that it amounted to a hill of beans. I suppose I have the dubious distinction of managing to get four Olympians to roll their eyes out of their heads and on to the floor simultaneously. Yay me.

Anyone else who was there remember me being asked, point blank, by a rider of great repute, "Don't you want to see our horses be stars? Don't you want to see them have careers that last longer?" As though those of us in favor of the long format were just a bunch of idiot horse abusers who wanted to break down horses.

My heart breaks for Amy Tryon. I know she is a consumate horsewoman and that look on her face during the NBC coverage today says it all about how crushed she is. But, am I the only one who finds it somewhat ironic that her two previous horses, My Beau and Poggio, had decade long careers with double-digit long format completions and are both still going strong, while the one horse whose career has been primarily short formats suffered a catastrophic breakown at a short format? I grant you it's a sample size of one, but I can't be the only person who's thought of this.

My concrete thoughts on the matter: The short format is NOT safer for the horses. I want some significant research done, short versus long. Has losing A,B, and C removed some key componenet of warmup or the safety net of the 10 minute box? Is it the short format course design? Is it course design in general? Is it the types of horses we are now selecting? Movement over soundess? I'll admit I have a pro long format bias, but seriously, where is the reasearch? Something has gone awry. We can all, me included, sit around and guess, or we can demand (and agree to pay for) the research that will give us answers.

I want to also add finally, that there does seem to be a notion that a day with a bunch of clean rounds is a "failure". That course designers design to try and make a challenge for , say, Winsome Adante, unquestionably one of the best horses in the world. I've no idea if this is true, but it occurs to me that without dumbing anything down, let's not worry about the "freaks" for lack of a better word. Design the best course for the ground, the day, the weather, and the field. If Dan smokes through it like a hunter course, people aren't going to be dissapointed, they are going to be thrilled! If 5, or ten, or 20 people come home double clear, that shouldn't be a failure.

I'm willing to get in to the firing line again, though Ihave new address, a new life, and a new job (I've turned pro), so I don't have the easy access to the big time that I once did. But, what the heck, I can handle a little more scorn!

Phoenix Farm aka Heather B(ailey)

Lori T
May. 6, 2007, 09:31 PM
Back 30 years ago the rumor was that eventing was where you went if you had balls and were not good enough to do hunters, jumpers or dressage.

Then things cleaned up and eventers were better riders than most.

Now eventing again is the place where folks who cannot do hunter, jumpers or dressage worth a crap come and ride.

Instant gratifacation is the modern mantra --good riding and horsemanship is non existant

Having competed in the hunters and jumpers, I must disagree with this statement. I find most event riders are more concerned about their horses and their overall condition than other disciplines. I used to go to A circuit shows and show in 5 classes...and be mocked by fellow competitors who showed in 15-20 classes over 3 days! I think most eventers realize the demands placed on their horse and do whatever it takes to keep them healthy. Yes, there are exceptions, but I find it to be just that.

silver2
May. 6, 2007, 09:41 PM
riders that shouldn't be moving up yet are moving up on horses that shouldn't be run at that level. Horses are being run too often.
I hope I don't get flamed but I really think that needs to be addressed from the top down at this point. Yes the courses are more technical but lots of people can and do make it around them and you have to seperate the top 25 teams somehow. If that is the direction the sport is going then I think it is up to the governing body to make sure that starting riders and horses are capable enough to be allowed to compete at that level on the public stage at a sanctioned event.

I don't know how to do that beyond the existing requirements but showjumping has things like Grades, invitationals and age limits on horses & riders and racing has all kinds of safety and drugs & vet regulations, some of which might be useful.

breakthru
May. 6, 2007, 09:51 PM
Want to put safety on the forefront?

Get the Young Riders to hold a conference on safety, improvements, course design, and preparation for events. Get the NEXT generation of eventers all hot and bothered about this, and everyone at the top will sit up, listen, and put it on their front (not to mention, it makes for great PR if you can talk about how involved YRs are).

I agree. Eventing is what we make of it. Let's make it better.

good idea-- but frankly, I'm afraid that we can't wait for the next generation. Ok, so we write letters, so we get active, so we let our voices be heard. what are we saying? specifically, what do we think we should do? I'm afraid if we don't reach a consensus, there will just we unresolved dissent--nothing will get done, and our sport will suffer as a result.

It seems to me there are two major issues at stake here:

1) Rider Fatalities
2) Horse soundness issues

What do we propose, specifically, for each of these issues? I think it's important not to gloss over and combine the issues, as they likely need separate solutions.

For the first issue-- do we have cross country obstacles that come down? Do we make rider qualification stricter for even the lower levels? A novice level fence can be just as fatal as an advanced fence... do we require some sort of "proof" of rider experience? It can happen to anyone, of course, but does it always? Is there any stats on this?

For the second issue--it would be good to get hard "evidence" of horse injuries in long format vs. short format to determine whether that is an issue at all.

anyone want to weigh in on these?

TexasTB
May. 6, 2007, 09:58 PM
PhoenixFarm, that is EXACTLY what was going through my mind.

A large part of the support for the short format has been based on horses being less worn out and able to compete more often. With the long format, a horse was only able to run 2 CCIs at the most each year. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that that number has doubled with the short format. Which means more injuries and a shorter career for the horse.
I'm going out on a limb, but I think rules should be passed limiting the number of international competitions a horse is allowed to run per year.

I too find it shocking that the short format came about with almost no in depth research as to its effect on the horses. And if it turned out that the extra distance really did make that much of a difference on the welfare of the horses (which i doubt it did), was eliminating them altogether the right answer? Or would shortening the length of these phases a better option?

It's been less than 5 years, and look at how much our sport has changed. If something isnt done SOON, then who knows where we'll be in the next decade, if we'll even be here at all.

CarrieK
May. 6, 2007, 10:07 PM
But, what the heck, I can handle a little more scorn!
You're committed and tough! Good for you!

Now we have fixed show jumping on a xc course.
I think, BarbB, that you've hit the nail on the head!

ksbadger
May. 6, 2007, 10:08 PM
Most of the posts seem to concentrate on the 3-day & the upper levels but for every injury to horse & rider at a CCI, I'd wager there's a hundred at the lower levels. I only help out at events but here are my thoughts:

More Pony Club-type training for adults at the local level concentrating on horse management, fitness & health.

Follow the USDF model with GMOs for eventers to provide training rather than just barn-based.

More regular low level training rather than one weekend every 6 months with a BNR (most riders need the BASICS not the final silver plate & polish)

Make adult riders more responsible by requiring the wearing of hard hats by USEA members all the time - how can you expect the kids to do it if you don't?

Take a leaf out of the Eventing Canada rule book & require every horse to have a vet check after XC - its heart rate must return to normal or you're eliminated.

Make it easier to run smaller recognized shows (under 50 horses?) with lower judge & TD requirements - better the money go into safer jumps & other safety measures. This might also help overcome the lack of younger judges & TDs - we seem to be rapidly getting to a generation gap.

TB or not TB?
May. 6, 2007, 10:12 PM
I was the person who had several big name riders then attack me, tell me I didn't know anything, and be dismissive and rude.

It's gems of poise and professionalism like this that make some of these upper level riders such role models for the younger generations. :rolleyes:

I wonder how the owners of these horses are feeling? Perhaps they might be a good place to start? Maybe not. I surely don't know.

CookiePony
May. 6, 2007, 10:19 PM
Most of the posts seem to concentrate on the 3-day & the upper levels but for every injury to horse & rider at a CCI, I'd wager there's a hundred at the lower levels.

As we discussed on the safety thread, we don't know because nobody has been keeping records. As I recall, we were talking about rider safety/accidents on that thread, but horse injuries also need to be counted.

This is something we could lobby for.

Denny, how did the safety meeting go?

Jealoushe
May. 6, 2007, 10:30 PM
I think there need to be more qualifications before people can upgrade, at any level. So many clear cross countries, or placing at a certain point, or something! For all levels, the smallest to the biggest. A lot of times people are eventing at a level above where they should be, for many reasons. They want to be doing something bigger, their horse has already done the level so they feel they can, they want to qualify for the team, etc etc. They have the money to buy the horses, but not the riding experience to back it up. When talented or experienced horses are ridden by someone who is riding at a level above where they should be and something goes wrong, say they don't get the correct approach, the horse is tired, their inexperience leaves them unable to make the correct adjustments to avoid disaster. It must be made certain that someone riding at Advanced has the experience necessary to handle ANYTHING that may come up at that level. Simply because a horse will jump someone around at that level, does not mean it should be doing it.

Another thing which was already mentioned was conditioning. With more and more crossbreds entering the sport, the majority now being crossbred, a lot of riders are not taking that into consideration in the conditioning routines. Warmblood crosses especially need much more conditioning work over a longer period than a thoroughbred. Maybe educating people on how to get your horse properly fit could be a little help.

I also feel that removing roads and tracks and steeplechase from three days could be an issue. Small lameness issues would certainly present themselves after the hour and half (give or take) the horses work on these phases, and these horses could be pulled in the ten minute box. Instead, with no warm-up, and trot up at the ten minute box, perhaps some lameness issues are surfacing around the cross-country whereas before they would have been caught in the box.

ksbadger
May. 6, 2007, 10:30 PM
As we discussed on the safety thread, we don't know because nobody has been keeping records. As I recall, we were talking about rider safety/accidents on that thread, but horse injuries also need to be counted.

Hmm. Every TD I know spends a lot of time at every event doing the paperwork that has to cover every injury to both horse & rider and course & organizational problem. Does this all just get binned when it hits USEA?

My other sport is SCUBA diving - every dive organization in the world collects & examines accident information to recognize trends & head off problems. Most of this information is circulated in their house magazines. I can't say I've seen similar information in our sport.

retreadeventer
May. 6, 2007, 10:33 PM
I think the simplest and most doable suggestion was to have the quick heart rate check after XC of horses and a coolout box after XC to do this in. It would require the organizer set aside a small roped off area and designate a vet and assistant to check the horses. Yet another organizer demand. However if it means their event ISN'T the one where the rider died or horse broke down, then it will be worth the time and effort it takes them to drive six more stakes in the ground and make two more phone calls.

Gnep
May. 6, 2007, 10:35 PM
Denny,

1. i think at the present everybody gets a little bit overroled by the new imformation age. I think that is very dangerous.
10 years or 20 or what ever ago, the incidences of Rolex an Badminton would have been what they are, seperated, they have nothing to do with each other.
We would have heard about the Rolex thing in the next Chronicle or the next USEventing and than Badminton. Without instant Feedback, instant discussion, instant, instant.
I personally feel things are geting right now a little hypped up. We used to have time to evaluate and react, think things through. Today we react.

2. The BB is a good platform for brainstorming but it is a very bad platform to get something done, untill some one who knows the system and is able to move things takes leadership.
Take a look at the Savety discussion inside the USEA, do you realy believe something is going to change ? I don't.
Because there is no leadership of a person with enough standing to keep them honest, from outside the Org.

3. if we want to change anything we have to have a rider organisation, a real thing that has fees, to keep people honest, that becomes the counter weight to the USEA asnd USEventing.

They have an Organisation like that in Germany. It was founded by Riders that competed at the upper level, you had to ride Intermediat to become a member. Meanwhile it is open to lower levels and because of this Org the Riders have a voice and they make changes.
the riders that started that Org. felt that their voice was never heard, they had no influence and they had to change it. They defenetly did.
The Chairman at the present rides at 2 and 3 star level.

A organisation like this could for example provide the rider reps at local shows, could be part of the course inspection of the ground jury, could take the savety discussion and development of equipment in its own hands, if you ride you got more interested to save your neck and your horse's.

I think we need desperatly a counter weight, that is the real thing and can link and work with other rider orgs. in other countries.

Ellie K
May. 6, 2007, 10:38 PM
Please tell me the new party line on the short format isn't now about "land restirctions." This was sold as a bill of goods as all about the safety and longevity of the horses.I think you have this backwards. Originally, back when the subject was on the table and proposals were going back and forth between the FEI and the NFs, it was about reducing the land etc. required at the Olympics. From there it's a trickle-down issue--if you need the world championship riders at the Olympics (per IOC expectations), and you need at least the perception that the Olympics remain the pinnacle of the sport, it goes without saying that world championships would logically be the same format. Then trickle-down some more to all championships. Then everyone has to qualify for short format championships, so it follows that qualifiers will be short format.

I don't recall any mention of safety as a "plus" for the short format, on the contrary I remember some of the NFs responses to the FEI's 2001 "Future of Eventing" statement emphasizing safety in terms of the veterinary justifications for long format and how this could be explained to create greater public understanding. THEN, long after it was already a done deal, BNRs started talking about longevity, less wear and tear, making "stars" out of their horses and nonsense like that. That was around 2003-2004 or so IIRC...well after the short format horse had left the barn. But at the same time I was hearing from so many people that the conditioning needed to be the same. There was a lot of talk about how to prep correctly for it--so I'd hope by now the riders at this level feel they've conquered that challenge? I don't know.

Mary in Area 1
May. 6, 2007, 10:49 PM
Perhaps I'm just depressed. Perhaps I'm just a cynic. But many of us spent a lot of energy trying to influence the "powers that be" NOT to abandon the long format. Look what all that hard work got us!

I'm not sure anyone is interested in anything that "we little people" say. If my name is not O'Connor, Dutton or Severson (or their sponsors) no one really cares WHAT we think.

I went to a dressage show today. No horse was killed or even injured. No person even fell off (that I witnessed). Refreshing.

Foxygrl516
May. 6, 2007, 10:51 PM
One example of a horse that was questionable for Rolex. Antigua is 18, for pete's sake; if Rolex had been long format, do you think she'd have gone? She was spun on Sunday.

.

Vineyridge-
I agreed with the point of your post! I'm no expert, and I'm not going to add much to this thread (but I"ll read along and hopefully learn something). I too think that it's silly that there was a very controversial and total change of the sport a couple of years ago and now eventing is "mysteriously" dangerous and in trouble. Come on people. While it may not be obvious, and it is clearly going to be very complex to fix, it IS obvious that the same big name riders are out there competing in a totally different sport than it was. Anyway, I could go on and on about that but I won't.

I am posting to comment on the Antigua comment. While I agree with your point, I think you chose a very bad example. Antigua had a stunning dressage test Friday and then one of only a handful of Double clear rounds Saturday. That is not to say that He would have run if it had been Long format, but this is a VERY capable horse with LOTS of running left in him. And he was not spun at the jog on Sunday (main reason why I'm posting. Being spun is a big deal). Will did not present Antigua at the jog on Sunday morning. I was told by a friend of Will's that Antigua stepped on a clip Saturday and while he was basically sound, he was a bit ouchy. They expected that the horse would be 100% ready to go in a week tops, but no need to present and SJ a horse that was not totally feeling it. That is a VERY good decision on Will's part, especially since he was in 4th place after XC and had he jumped double clear Sunday would have won Rolex. But he put his horse first.

I'm sure you meant no harm by your comment, and I"m not being harsh or mean. I just think that Will deserves something for his decision, atleast for the facts to be correct. If anything, what Will did for his horse last weekend was a brilliant example of what Eventers should be and how they should put their horses before any personal or competitive goals. Thanks Denny for the good conversation and for being so active in bettering our sport! I'll go back into pseudo-hiding now, but I'll be reading along to see what I can do.

Jealoushe
May. 6, 2007, 10:53 PM
I think the simplest and most doable suggestion was to have the quick heart rate check after XC of horses and a coolout box after XC to do this in. It would require the organizer set aside a small roped off area and designate a vet and assistant to check the horses. Yet another organizer demand. However if it means their event ISN'T the one where the rider died or horse broke down, then it will be worth the time and effort it takes them to drive six more stakes in the ground and make two more phone calls.


As it was mentioned this is standard after cross-country in Canada. It also helps to let you know whether your conditioning methods are working and whether to change for the next event.

Im shocked that Olympic eventers are for the short format. Im fairly young and I have a hard time with it, I feel eventing is slipping away. Whoever said it is becoming more about movement than soundness is right. Not to bash breeds in any way shape or form, but because the horse can pull a lovely dressage test and jump clean, does not necessarily mean it is suitable for the sport. Some horses may make it around, but are more susceptible to injury and fatigue because of their breeding.

As for eventing back in the years, I have the book "Eventing, The Book of the Three-Day Event" written by then Lucinda Prior-Palmer (now Green) from 1976 and the majority of her writings is about fitness and selecting the right horse. In Mark Todds book he mentions how I believe its 1998, I would have to double check, but there were two riders killed and before than nothing that severe had ever happened that he had heard of. Riders were killed yes, but not yearly, or even within 5 years. It seems when the fences started to become so technical, more falls were happening. That said, there are combinations who can tackle that sort of thing with ease. Riders and horses must be properly prepared for the level they are showing at.

TexasTB
May. 6, 2007, 11:00 PM
3. if we want to change anything we have to have a rider organisation, a real thing that has fees, to keep people honest, that becomes the counter weight to the USEA asnd USEventing.

They have an Organisation like that in Germany. It was founded by Riders that competed at the upper level, you had to ride Intermediat to become a member. Meanwhile it is open to lower levels and because of this Org the Riders have a voice and they make changes.
the riders that started that Org. felt that their voice was never heard, they had no influence and they had to change it. They defenetly did.
The Chairman at the present rides at 2 and 3 star level.

A organisation like this could for example provide the rider reps at local shows, could be part of the course inspection of the ground jury, could take the savety discussion and development of equipment in its own hands, if you ride you got more interested to save your neck and your horse's.

I think we need desperatly a counter weight, that is the real thing and can link and work with other rider orgs. in other countries.

This is a very good idea and I would love to see something like this implemented in the US
However, i think that membership should be expanded to riders of all levels, as we make up the bulk of the eventing population and are the bulk of the people that feel wronged by many of the changes to our sport.

CookiePony
May. 6, 2007, 11:00 PM
Good catch, FoxyGrl-- Will Faudree is an example of excellent sportsmanship and respect for the horse.


Hmm. Every TD I know spends a lot of time at every event doing the paperwork that has to cover every injury to both horse & rider and course & organizational problem. Does this all just get binned when it hits USEA?

My other sport is SCUBA diving - every dive organization in the world collects & examines accident information to recognize trends & head off problems. Most of this information is circulated in their house magazines. I can't say I've seen similar information in our sport.

Good question-- what DOES the USEA do with this info? What about injuries that are not immediately obvious or somehow do not come to the attention of the TD-- could there be a system for reporting these (and a way to get people to do so)? If the info exists, that is a huge wealth of information to utilize.

Was it here on the Eventing forum that an Endurance rider asked us why we did not have detailed statistics on horse injuries? Perhaps Endurance has a good model for a system to use.

YankeeLawyer
May. 6, 2007, 11:03 PM
I think you have this backwards. Originally, back when the subject was on the table and proposals were going back and forth between the FEI and the NFs, it was about reducing the land etc. required at the Olympics. From there it's a trickle-down issue--if you need the world championship riders at the Olympics (per IOC expectations), and you need at least the perception that the Olympics remain the pinnacle of the sport, it goes without saying that world championships would logically be the same format. Then trickle-down some more to all championships. Then everyone has to qualify for short format championships, so it follows that qualifiers will be short format.

I don't recall any mention of safety as a "plus" for the short format, on the contrary I remember some of the NFs responses to the FEI's 2001 "Future of Eventing" statement emphasizing safety in terms of the veterinary justifications for long format and how this could be explained to create greater public understanding. .

For what it is worth, I distinctly remember that the change was being pushed BOTH because some thought it necessary to reduce the amount of land required for 3-Day to remain part of the Olympics AND because some viewed the short format as safer -- that latter point being subject to some debate at the time.

Another poster mentioned that WBs, which are becoming more common in eventing, might have different conditioning needs than TBs. I have also wondered about whether a shift from TBs to WBs has, for whatever reason, contributed to an increase in difficulties with the XC, and in particular I see this issue as linked to the change in format. I recall during the Athens Olympics the commentators stated that US riders, who typically looked to OTTBs for eventing prospects, would have to start moving to WBs, which in the commentator's view was more suited to the short format and increasing importance in the dressage score to finish in the top 3 (presumably because more would go clean on XC). But if the format has changed, and the types of horses competing have changed, have people also sufficiently adapted their training programs to accommodate these differences?

CJ4ME
May. 6, 2007, 11:05 PM
I think Eventing is going to have to save itself. This has been a terrible year for eventing with so many fatalities and serious injuries for horses and their riders. Its simply unacceptable.

But before solutions are proposed the reasons and causes for the accidents must be clarified. What are the common threads? For instance, is it rotational accidents, horse fatigue, rider error, inexperience?

I think the factors in each of the big accidents (and as many of the smaller) need to be assessed and a report made that also includes a retrospective look.

THEN recommendations--based on well researched information--can be made to increase safety. Maybe time is too tight, maybe jumps are too technical, maybe its because they all wear sparkle bell boots...WE DON'T KNOW...we can only speculate until the information is gathered systematically by an impartial committee.

So, the question is...how do we start?

I think Denny said a group is meeting about this very subject. I would be really interested to hear about their plans, protocols and research methods.

ksbadger
May. 6, 2007, 11:05 PM
Please restrict your comments to the original thread - there are others currently running on Antigua/Rolex etc and the Long/Short arguement is, for better or worse, over.

Beam Me Up
May. 6, 2007, 11:14 PM
I agree that it is best for us, eventers, to drive changes rather than the "powers that be."

But where I get stuck, is knowing what changes we want. We all want a safer sport with fewer injuries, but it seems hard to identify the pattern.

Not all the horse/rider fatalities have happened at 3-days vs HTs, they have involved both well respected pros and relatively unknown ammies/yrs, some may have involved "unsafe" riding, or exhaustion or not being qualified, but that doesn't seem to be the majority.

As a math/stats person, I would love to see certain types of data collected for these incidents:
- type of fence
- was the pair experienced/successful at this level
- early/middle/end of course
- rider ever been flagged as "unsafe" previously
- x-c penalties received prior the fence of the incident on that course
- number of horses that rider had entered

That might help us figure out the pattern, but I do understand that the USEA's job is to run competitions, and some types of useful data would be incredibly hard and time-consuming to track (for example, if a rider had been warned for unsafe riding at previous events--that would require tracking of warnings between shows).

What really perplexes me is that IMO eventing has become much more safety conscious even in my limited participation (15 years--I'm 29 now). When I was growing up it seemed that determination to finish (despite falls/stops etc) was key--retiring because it wasn't your day was less emphasized. A little recklessness (riding a reckless horse, taking a few risks) gained some riders in our community admiration.

Many of the major rule changes that I've seen in my life have been safety minded:
- MR for horse fall
- E for 2nd rider fall
- cap on number of cumulative refusals
- qualifications beyond age for prelim
- excessive speed penalties at lower levels
- "unsafe riding" rule which can be applied in so many ways

I think as a result we see events as places to test our skill rather than school (as used to be the case for some), and all of this should increase safety (and probably does, just not enough).

I'd be very interested to know what others think the problem is, and how we might fix it. I've thought about it a lot and I really don't know what is going wrong.

If I had to guess, I'd say that while technical is not a bad thing, maybe asking for such a range from horses (bold x-c, technical x-c, conditioning, dressage performance, s-j) is too much to fit in, but I don't know, because that's also what makes eventing great.

I can't wait to hear what others view as the "problem." I think not knowing what the problem is may be what is preventing us from springing to action in a unified way.

Sorry for the ramble . . .

fergie
May. 6, 2007, 11:14 PM
"Please restrict your comments to the original thread - there are others currently running on Antigua/Rolex etc and the Long/Short arguement is, for better or worse, over."

The thought police speaking here ......

Sannois
May. 6, 2007, 11:27 PM
Please restrict your comments to the original thread - there are others currently running on Antigua/Rolex etc and the Long/Short arguement is, for better or worse, over.

Or are we just now starting to see the effects of the short format! :eek:

TheOrangeOne
May. 6, 2007, 11:30 PM
I'm perfectly willing to admit that I was never accomplished as an eventer, but I had a thought watchign today:

The XC is truning into show jumping- did I hear that there were no jumping faults on cross country day?

The stadium is not really show jumping, few horses seemed as capable as I had expected at the pinnacle of the sport (presumneable from exhaustion)

Would it be terrible to make the XC track more about guts and less about the bounceintowateronestrideislandbankoverturnedcanoe? Get the horses jumping more out of stride? It seemed to me that those horses were getting packaged to the XC fences the same way you would to a SJ fence. Erm, stadium fence. Again, I plea ignorance, but I have always thought XC was to be taken out of a good gallop.

Now, I think stadium could stand to go up 3 inches and be designed a little more technically. A higher and more technical course would encourage only the fittest horses, since a more unforgiving hieght would not forgive inadequate fitness or scope for the job.

I plea ignorance, but I think it makes a little sense. Something to work off of, perhaps? Teddy O'Connor had be thinking like this. That 14.2 pony is jumping around great and that 16.2 horse is rubbing everythign in sight. That pony has to work harder and jump higher proportionally and he is still doing it. Why are the horses not measuring up? (pardon the pun) How is it that a wee thing is going into stadium after an XC day in whcih he took 1.2 times the number of steps (guesstimate) of all the other horses and jumped his own height? My only answer was that he is athletic and scopier. Only the best pony can make it cause that stadium course does not forgive one who can sort of do the job. We need to encourage the ones who can sort of do the job (in my opinion, the ones who are going ot be in accidents cause they are maxed out or not quite fit) to stay at a level where they are comfortable so that the cream can rise to the top.

tuppysmom
May. 7, 2007, 12:09 AM
There were lots of xc penalties. Some of the scores were well over 100.

YankeeLawyer
May. 7, 2007, 12:21 AM
Please restrict your comments to the original thread - there are others currently running on Antigua/Rolex etc and the Long/Short arguement is, for better or worse, over.

I didn't realize you are a moderator. I *was* responding to the OP, who called for people to get off their butts to effectuate change. A number of posters have tried to identify areas in need of attention, the "new" short format being one possible area IF in fact it is proving more dangerous. But if you are saying that people should not point to specific problems, well then, I have no idea how anyone is ever going to fix issues that go unidentified.

gr8fulrider
May. 7, 2007, 12:50 AM
I am just an amateur who likes to look at the pretty horsies and jump over stuff the size of coffee tables, but I've taken an interest in this conversation and I hope to contribut.

In spite of the horrible tragedy at Rolex, it is hard to look at the whole event as an ominous statement about a sport gone wrong. I know that I am a shameless Teddy-phile (see signature), but the reason is what he and his rider show about the sport. Watching the performances of Ben Along Time, Connaught, and Teddy-- ridden by world-class riders-- I felt inspired by the sport. These are such phenomenal athletes who did their job so flawlessly. All of the top three looked fresh and and in good spirits after X-C and on Sunday, and I swear that Kayuna Sun horse could have done the X-C twice he had so much in the tank.

What happened to Le Samurai is now in the hands of the FEI and I imagine that they will distill some lessons that we can all take away as riders, whether we compete at Elementary or 4*.

But I'd also like everyone to consider our discussion of this sport, and of equestrian sports in general, in the more global relationship between modern human beings and animals. Since Le Samurai was humanely destroyed, participants in this discussion have eaten hundreds of animals. These animals were bred and raised for our use and not given a moment's comfort in their lives beyond what was required to make them sufficiently nutritious, appetizing, and safe to eat.

These are the choices that we make. It is an assumed part of our relationship with animals. I know of no moral distinction between horses pigs, sheep, and cows. But we are deeply, highly troubled when a much-loved horse meets with an accidental death-- whether the death is due to hard luck, poor judgment, or even avarice.

I do NOT suggest that horses deserve no better than to be treated like meat (I myself don't eat meat but that's an individual choice; I have a leather bridle; not saying I'm consistent). What I find interesting, though, is that we are outraged on Le Samurai's behalf seemingly because he was intended-- somewhat arbitrarily-- for a happier life than the calf, pig, or cow that lives a Hobbesian existence until arriving at our tables.

Do we want to think of ourselves as doing something better than using these animals for pleasure? I am not a PETA person. I ride my horse. Really. Over fences even (little ones). In fact I think that these event horses seem by and large to get a better deal than almost any animal and 80% of people in this world.

A top event horse receives excellent care, and there is every incentive for this horse to live a long productive life. Then he stumbles and it's all over. It's horrible to watch. It must be horrible to live with, as a rider.

But I think we should ask ourselves a tough question: is eventing the problem, is one rider's judgment the problem, or is the real problem that when we choose to ride and train a horse, we are using it for our pleasure, much as we choose to use other animals for other purposes?

That when an event produces an injured or dead horse, this is part of what we bargained for? Are we all in an uproar because one highly skilled rider made a mistake? Because the courses are too technical? Or because we are all Amy Tryon? We all put our horses in harm's way every time we pull them out of the pasture . And we do this only because we want to

Is it uncomfortable to consider that our admiration for the great "partnerships" aside, riding exists entirely for the riders' benefit?

I love to ride. I love my horse. I want to do everything I can to keep her happy, healthy, and fit.

Except that I want to jump her, and she could put a foot wrong. I want to show her. And we could have a trailer crash.

If the top minds in eventing conclude that the risks have increased unnecessarily and find a good solution, that is a good thing. But I believe that we should be honest with ourselves that from a ring-sour lesson pony to Le Samurai, the horse's destiny is ours to manipulate. It doesn't take a 4* course to kill an animal. We kill animals every day-- it just stings the most when we believe that we never meant to take that risk .

lstevenson
May. 7, 2007, 01:20 AM
More Pony Club-type training for adults at the local level concentrating on horse management, fitness & health.


I definitely agree with this. Riders are learning to ride in the ring only and tend to lack knowledge of general good horsemanship.

And on another note, I think it's a real shame that Pony Club now allows members to skip the x-c experience and focus only on dressage. That is bound to eventually lower the standards of riding skills in this country. Riders need to be well rounded to become good horseman.

Weatherford
May. 7, 2007, 04:32 AM
I agree that it is best for us, eventers, to drive changes rather than the "powers that be."

But where I get stuck, is knowing what changes we want. We all want a safer sport with fewer injuries, but it seems hard to identify the pattern.

Not all the horse/rider fatalities have happened at 3-days vs HTs, they have involved both well respected pros and relatively unknown ammies/yrs, some may have involved "unsafe" riding, or exhaustion or not being qualified, but that doesn't seem to be the majority.

As a math/stats person, I would love to see certain types of data collected for these incidents:
- type of fence
- was the pair experienced/successful at this level
- early/middle/end of course
- rider ever been flagged as "unsafe" previously
- x-c penalties received prior the fence of the incident on that course
- number of horses that rider had entered

That might help us figure out the pattern, but I do understand that the USEA's job is to run competitions, and some types of useful data would be incredibly hard and time-consuming to track (for example, if a rider had been warned for unsafe riding at previous events--that would require tracking of warnings between shows).

What really perplexes me is that IMO eventing has become much more safety conscious even in my limited participation (15 years--I'm 29 now). When I was growing up it seemed that determination to finish (despite falls/stops etc) was key--retiring because it wasn't your day was less emphasized. A little recklessness (riding a reckless horse, taking a few risks) gained some riders in our community admiration.

Many of the major rule changes that I've seen in my life have been safety minded:
- MR for horse fall
- E for 2nd rider fall
- cap on number of cumulative refusals
- qualifications beyond age for prelim
- excessive speed penalties at lower levels
- "unsafe riding" rule which can be applied in so many ways

I think as a result we see events as places to test our skill rather than school (as used to be the case for some), and all of this should increase safety (and probably does, just not enough).

I'd be very interested to know what others think the problem is, and how we might fix it. I've thought about it a lot and I really don't know what is going wrong.

If I had to guess, I'd say that while technical is not a bad thing, maybe asking for such a range from horses (bold x-c, technical x-c, conditioning, dressage performance, s-j) is too much to fit in, but I don't know, because that's also what makes eventing great.

I can't wait to hear what others view as the "problem." I think not knowing what the problem is may be what is preventing us from springing to action in a unified way.

Sorry for the ramble . . .

I, too, would like to see this statistical data - from around the world, not just the US (as I am in Ireland ;) )

I think the problem, however, needs to be examined on at least two levels - upper level - say Prelim (Nov in Ire) and above, and Training and below. I think the safety issues are as much different as the same.

The cross country day is supposed to be a test of "speed and endurance". We eliminated the "speed" part when we removed "bonus points" for speed -(did this for safety reasons), and then we eliminated the endurance part by going to the short format. :confused:

We have done much to make our XC courses "safer" at all levels - but is what we have done the correct way to address the problems?

I will keep reading and thinking about it - meanwhile, someone put together the stats for us - preferably for as long as we have records!

:confused:

PiedPiper
May. 7, 2007, 06:58 AM
Perhaps I'm just depressed. Perhaps I'm just a cynic. But many of us spent a lot of energy trying to influence the "powers that be" NOT to abandon the long format. Look what all that hard work got us!

I'm not sure anyone is interested in anything that "we little people" say. If my name is not O'Connor, Dutton or Severson (or their sponsors) no one really cares WHAT we think.

I went to a dressage show today. No horse was killed or even injured. No person even fell off (that I witnessed). Refreshing.


I went to a HT this weekend. No horse was killed or even injured. No person even fell off (that I witnessed).

Are we even then? :rolleyes:

denny
May. 7, 2007, 07:52 AM
What Bill Mc Collom told me about the response of "the powers that be" in ski racing to the threat of being dropped from the Olympics (read earlier post) implies that probably the FEI/USEF/USEA can make safety a larger part of the "corporate culture", but only if they take it seriously enough.
Horse/rider accidents and deaths are nothing new in eventing, and that`s mainly because horses fall over solid obstacles; the fences don`t fall.
Many factors, and most have been identified on this and earlier threads, contribute to a greater or lesser liklihood of falls.
"The sport",meaning the human beings who run the sport, can change the corporate culture, but only if "they" finally decide to make safety measures an honest to God front burner issue on an ongoing basis, not just a quick fix in response to a short public outcry. Read "53s" post on an earlier thread, the safety one maybe? She`s a helicopter pilot for the Marines, not the intrinsically safest job. Yet she explains how safety measures have been made an integral part of their daily pattern. Such is not the current case in eventing, I don`t think, but it could be.
What if big events had a "Safety Officer"? Just one thought of many.
This is where individuals can make a difference. It is YOUR sport as well as THEIR sport, but you have to get involved. The very first thing you HAVE TO DO is join USEF and USEA. Yes, that costs money.
Then you have to write or phone lots of people who have clout , just like lobbyists in Washington do, and tell them it`s time to get serious about catastrophic accidents to horses and riders.
Be aware, though, that a safer sport may become a tamer sport, and tame may not be what draws you, like moths to a flame, to a high risk sport.
You are going to have to choose between your addiction to risk and greater safety, if not for yourself, then for your partner, who, lets face it, does pretty much what you ask of him/her, to the best of his/her abilities and his/her training, and when things go badly wrong, is often the one who suffers the most.

FairWeather
May. 7, 2007, 08:48 AM
Our riders are amazing for the most part, the horses are phenoms, yet something is missing.

Are they? Genuine question here, I have no idea.


(by vineyridge) (about Antigua) She was spun on Sunday.As a clarification, Antigua wasnt presented at the jog Sunday.


Was talking with someone a few days ago and wondering what exactly has changed (other than the short/long format change) over the last 10 or 20 years. As a relative newcomer to Eventing, I dont know much about what XC courses consisted of 10 years ago. It sounds as though courses are definitely more technical.

What was the rolex course like 10 years ago, in comparison to this year?


(by Denny) Be aware, though, that a safer sport may become a tamer sport, and tame may not be what draws you, like moths to a flame, to a high risk sport.
You are going to have to choose between your addiction to risk and greater safety, if not for yourself, then for your partner, who, lets face it, does pretty much what you ask of him/her, to the best of his/her abilities and his/her training, and when things go badly wrong, is often the one who suffers the most.

The thought of someone backing away from a sport that shows a great concern for the horse because it isnt as risky is horrifying to me. Good Riddance to anybody who runs around thinking "well, this isnt as risky for us anymore, i'm out of here!"

LisaB
May. 7, 2007, 08:57 AM
I heard that a lot of Rolex horses missed half of their gallops and still went on to Rolex ( this is rumour mill but I believe it).
I hear horror stories of unscrupulous riders teaming up with unscrupulous vets to get a horse 'sound'
I saw yesterday a kid hitting her horse in the HEAD with her hand on x-c. TD was right there and bless the td! Luckily kid didn't have a crop.
All of these people need policing before an event. I don't know how but you guys are smart and probably would had suggestions.

The whole wb debate so the Germans can railroad their breed into eventing has completely backfired. Con - (aka Teddy, I keep forgetting) 14.2 h. Dan 15.3 h, Headley Brittania - 15.3(? or 2) . Saw Mike Winter on Wonderful Will at the CIC***. That's a little guy who kicked butt on x-c. Haha! Short Format enthusiasts! In your face!

But I do think the short format is partly to blame because riders took short cuts and it bit them in the ass. I think the fall season, we are hopefully going to see fitter horses.

LLDM
May. 7, 2007, 08:58 AM
Good point Denny. That's what I have been pondering - What is "safety". And I think you hit it. Safety, amoung other things is primarily a mindset. I was a Pony Club kid in the 70's. Safety was drilled into our heads. The idea that every time you touch a horse, work with a horse, house a horse and ride a horse you need to be aware and proactive about your horse's safety - because if your horse is as safe as you can make him - you are also as safe as you can be.

I will disagree with one thing, Denny. We can address much of the safety issue without the USEA and USEF. (Not that they should be let off the hook by any means!) I think it needs to be done on both levels - here in "the field" and from an organizational level.

Aside from the riding issues, here's what I am seeing at low level events: Horses left unattended at trailers getting loose and wondering around, horses tied near folding chairs or being led through various "picnic" obsticles, unattended small children and dogs, inattentive folks wondering around in front of and behind horses they don't know - some with strollers!

Then there is the other level of safety issues - horses not properly warmed-up or cooled down, horses used as sofas, tack laying around on the ground to be stepped on and damaged, practice fences jumped backwards, spectators, unmounted horses, or sofas in the (small) warmup areas, and folks who don't respond to called fences, "heads-up", or inside/outside calls. Don't even get me started about the little kid on her pony on her cell phone being led around by her Mom after XC! "Get off your pony!"

It all makes my inner Pony Club child twitch. Now these people seem to really enjoy these lower level HTs and really care about their horses and want to have fun. I swear they just don't know any better!

So how do we create a culture from the bottom that makes it okay for folks to say something!?! Esp. at a Pony Club sponsered and run HT? How do we get the word out to the newbies? How do we empower the the officials and experienced riders and trainers to say, hey, your chair city is blocking the aisles and endangering your horses (and possibly mine)?

Yes there is plenty we can do at the "top" of the sport (and I'll go there too) - but we have to raise 'em right from the beginning too. How about a list of safety rules (real ones, not the little list most have) that must be signed by competitors. How about the abilty to dock a couple points (ala Pony Club) for unsafe behavior.

The culture of safety mindedness and awareness starts at the lower levels. If we can start 'em there it will help a great deal the future of our sport.

The safer your horse, the safer YOU ARE! Yes, your horse deserves the best because you ask so much from him/her for your own pleasure and enjoyment. But his/her safety, comfort and wellbeing underlies your own. This is called enlightened self interest!

SCFarm

Noctis
May. 7, 2007, 09:02 AM
FairWeather,

Yes I'll stand by that statement, that most of our riders ARE, and so are their horses. I've ridden with quite a few of them, or worked closely around them and their horses, and they really are. I can only speak for the ones I've worked with, but again, yes at least those quite a few, are. You don't make it to that level without good horsemanship. You can't. Your horses won't even make it there. Maybe its easier now, with the short format, I don't know. It seems that there are many more injuries now than there were, at least severe ones/ death. JHMO though.

And a tamer sport, well we'll go with safer. I don't think galloping across fields and jumping objects will ever be too tame :-) But we can do whatever is needed to make it safer!

GotSpots
May. 7, 2007, 09:15 AM
Part of changing a culture and/or orienting a shift in belief systems is by stepping up and doing something. Those of you who call yourselfs "Smurfs" or "low-level riders" and feel you are powerless: you are not. You, me, all of us, are the sport. And with that, comes responsibility. So, pick up the phone. Write a letter. Volunteer to run a committee, conduct a study, or review data. Button-hole the next "upper-level" rider you ride or walk a course with and express yourself. If you go to an event and are sitting next to a red-coat after stadium, introduce yourself and ask a question. If you see the course designer or the TD, ask about a question on the course that you have a concern with (politely, nicely, calmly). I bet you'd be surprised at how willing folks are to listen and talk and educate. There isn't some ivory castle where the governing bodies are tucked away - members of the BOG and upper level riders are in the sport every day, organizing horse trials, owning horses, competing youngsters through advanced horses, coaching, teaching, learning.

Change happens person by person, one by one. The people in eventing are amazing: I'm blown away every event that folks VOLUNTEER for full days just so that I can have my fun. I can't count the number of riders and coaches who have willingly given their time to make sure I'm a little safer, a little better, a little less Oh-dear-God-what-was-that. Nor can I count the folks I don't even know who have offered kindnesses, energy, or time to this sport. This is a community filled with people who care passionately about the sport: it is your sport, and I have faith in all of you that you will continue to make it better.

dirtgirl
May. 7, 2007, 09:26 AM
LLDM - I think you may have hit a major nail on the head!

It is education.

I seem many parents who don't know the first thing about safety or horse and barn management - they let the trainers and the barn owners take that responsibility and just sign the checks.

I moved to a barn last fall owned by a woman who is an old-line eventer and for the first three months I was her "bad safety" example numerous times to her other students! I had gotten way too lax in my safety habits.

It was a great refresher and made me THINK.

And that's what the rush-rush mentality of our culture has brought us to - we breeze by information and the signs of "something is going amiss!" Until something really BAD happens and then we're all SHOCKED.

Debbie
May. 7, 2007, 09:31 AM
I definitely think the discussion has to be divided between upper level, P - A, and lower level. I don't know if it's the short format or just "advances" in course design, but I didn't see a single trip on the live feed (disclaimer, I did not see Teddy go) that didn't give me a gasp or two -- in most cases several. It frankly just wasn't fun to watch. I'd rather see a few technical questions interspersed among big, galloping fences that encourage attack. The fences that bring tears to my eyes (of pleasure in the privilege to witness) are those that bring a horse's ears forward and reward their courage. Short, trippy combinations that punish a big stride (witness Tangleman) to me are not that fun to watch even when ridden as well as possible.

Other than attending Rolex, I've been out of eventing for several years, and my observation is that the caliber of riding (and particularly of horses) has improved. The courses even at the lower levels are correspondingly harder. It begs the question of what happened to the "easy, good for first time" courses? Is there a mentality among organizers and course designers that anything less than championship caliber courses is not good enough? Of course if competitors are clamoring for the tougher courses then it's market driven. My perception of this may be skewed, too, by being in Area III where we are blessed with a very competitive event markeplace.

annikak
May. 7, 2007, 09:37 AM
Announcing this weekend at a schooling HT in the area- which also happened to be the C eventing Rally- it was obvious who the PC'ers were by their horses, and its obvious who WAS/had been a PC'er by their horses.

Many of the other rides and care of horses was frightning. The on call vet was up in the tower with me. At one point she said, " I can't LOOK! After doing lameness exams all week, this is making me sick!" And yes...there were a lot of lame horses out there- minor to be sure, but from my vantage point...ugh.


I am the chair of a committee that was to look at the Eventing University. Sadly, my committee members have been busy and have not been able to contribute much. I have drafted a letter to Kyra with the ideas that have been posted on our forum, as well as spoken to her, about starting the U format, similar to the Dressage education program. It might help, I sure hope we can get it off the ground. I also think the time is right.

west5
May. 7, 2007, 09:44 AM
The original thread was about what we can do. After reading a lot of the threads on this forum I have one very simple idea.

In terms of the USEA constituency why can't we start a campaign to demand that accurate STATISTICS REGARDING ACCIDENTS be made public to us.

I don't know how far the records go back but let's say for the past 10 years. How many riders are hurt, how many horses are hurt, fatalities vs, catastrophic injuries vs., minor injuries, what divisions, what type of fences, what caused the accident etc.

Until we stop dealing in conjecture everyone's ideas many of which "sound" good are basically meaningless.

annikak
May. 7, 2007, 09:45 AM
FWIW, I believe there is a safely officer at events, and I believe that they DO keep statistics. USPC does for sure, and has for years.

drjuliea
May. 7, 2007, 09:49 AM
The rest of my family races outboard hydroplane boats (little ones, not Miss Budwiser), but they are all under the auspices of the American Power Boat Association (ABPA). My dad, both brothers, a cousin and an uncle all race (my poor mom!).

After every wreck (and most of these, as most of our accidents, are more bumps and bruises than anything else), one of the race officials comes to the driver involved in the wreck and they fill out an accident report. Every time, every wreck. It includes where it happened on the body of water, weather conditions, water conditions (flat, waves, etc, etc), type of helmet they were wearing, type of life vest, description of the accident, all of it. They take this info and try to use it to direct all of the saftey rules (and they have a lot of them!) and guide the saftey committee at the national organization to make the sport competative, fun and safe. They have pretty much a similar tier of people as we do, the big-money, professional Miss Budwiser types who race and drive for money all the way down to the Stock Outboards that my family races for fun and certificate (their version of a ribbon!).

Denny, if this would help, let me know-my dad is an official and has been racing for 25+ years and would know who to get in contact with if you think this would be a start, as least a guidline of how to set something up so we DO have the information and then do something with it!

I have never felt more alive then when I am galloping across country-
don't ever forget that feeling, guys.

west5
May. 7, 2007, 09:53 AM
FWIW, I believe there is a safely officer at events, and I believe that they DO keep statistics. USPC does for sure, and has for years.

It seems to me that if there were good statistics that were easily accessible somebody here would be spouting them off:yes:

Just the way when there are "rules questions" there are a couple of people who have both the rule book and answers at their fingertips.

findeight
May. 7, 2007, 09:57 AM
OK. I do not Event. Don't like it.

BUT I, once again, defended the sport to others who were very negative about why we do this to the horses given the unacceptable number of horses that don't seem to survive the sport's top levels in high profile events like Rolex.
Thing is I honestly don't know what to say anymore.

Looking in from outside it seems the same things keep occuring that have always occurred in the 50 years I have been watching as an outsider and then one Event I actually spectated at (and, yes, that had a fatality).

You have an image problem besides the other problem to solve and I can't defend you too much longer.

Horse sports are all tough and the creatures fragile, each disipline has it's issues and problems. That's all I can tell them...but the others seem to be facing those issues more aggressively. Maybe they are quicker to say "yes, we have an unacceptable problem" and work to solve it.
Maybe Eventing has too many old school types that say it's part of the sport and push on at all costs.

I just don't know. Maybe I miss something as an outsider.

One constructive suggestion I can offer is get some people out there along the course with black flags and the authority to waive them if an entry is in trouble and the rider either does not know it or is too bullheaded to pull up.

Whoever said Amy is all of us is dead on. We all are AT in the eyes of those outside the horse world.

ToucheToujour
May. 7, 2007, 10:30 AM
I once took a dangerously unfit horse to an event. I was younger, and a little more naive. I even asked my trainer though what I would do if the horse felt tired on course. My trainer looked me in the eye and told me that withdrawing on course was not an option, that the horse would be fine and I needed to stop worrying. This was after weeks of pouring rain which circumvented my ability to do fitness work on a horse who would pack on the pounds faster than any other horse in the barn. I survived that cross country course because my horse was a saint, not because I was well prepared.

Maybe a "long format" at the lower levels is what we need. I miss the long format at the top levels, but I doubt they're going to resurrect it. Let's take on battles we can win. What about requiring ALL riders Prelim and under to do a short roads and tracks type of deal? What if you had to trot and canter your horse for a certain number of miles, or even time, and then report to a veterinary team who determines whether your horse's vitals return to normal in a respectable time before you go onto cross country? Hell, you wouldn't even need that much more space. Rope off a 'track' around warm up and stick a TD there. Most of the kids would be fine--this wouldn't change anything for them. But for the others? Wow. Your horse has to be FIT for novice now.

No, these recent accidents likely have little to do with fitness. But that is an OUTSTANDING problem in the sport. If we re-instill that mindset of 'as prepared as you can be', then that'll have a trickle up effect (no Reaganomics here!) that will force upper level riders too to reevaluate their fitness. Short format doesn't mean less fitness, or even a different type of fitness.

Short format means you'll have more horse at the end because you've trained for more and done less.

It's frustrating to sit outside the sport and see this happen. For those of us who are not at the top echelons of the sport, it is difficult for us to figure out how to have our voices heard. It's frustrating. Very frustrating.

claire
May. 7, 2007, 10:32 AM
I have been reading this thread, the safety thread,Le Samuria threads and Rayer's "tendon-ligament-conditioning" thread and have a few thoughts (if I may) :winkgrin:

-Just to summarize, it seems from these threads there are several concerns questions that need to be addressed:

1.) The number of human and equine accidents and deaths in the past couple years is unacceptable and must be addressed.

2.) We need develop a system to document and investigate accidents
in order to prevent further accidents.

3.) We need to study and become informed about different conditioning methods(what is needed for which format),effects of different phases of 3-day(ie. short vs. long) course design (technical vs. galloping),fence design, emphasis on each phase (ie. dressage vs. endurance) types of horses best suited for each type of format and different conditioning programs for each "type"(tb vs warmblood) of horse.

4.) We need to also study and become informed about RIDER fitness,conditioning and develop and study the best method for the rider to react to trauma/accidents on course.



-Is there a possibility the safety committee that has been formed could be the jump off point for a "new" USEF? USET? NF? governing body devoted to the Health and Well-Being of our Equines and Riders?

Under this umbrella would fall governance of safety measures, reasearch and education of health (conditioning,feeding,surgery, pharmaceuticals,naisads etc.)


If the committee consisted of various riders and trainers of different levels of experience that would be invaluable.
For instance, the Denny Emersons/Jim Woffords etc. have experience to share of conditioning and competing in the long format. While, the O'Conners,Davidsons,Duttons,Seversons have experience "bridging" the long/short format...
In addition, you could bring in Pony Club trainers,vets,pharmaceutical companies,feed,supplement,horse care suppliers and use these large companies research facilities...

I think this could be the start of a BIG development that would bring many positive changes at all levels and all divisions of equine sports.

LLDM
May. 7, 2007, 10:37 AM
My lower level thoughts on upper level riders and upper level events in no particular order.

Why the consistently awkward jumps? I don't mean the occasional bad spot. I mean, for example, the Lighthouse at the Head of the Lake. Now, I haven't watched ALL the XC footage from Rolex (about half) and seen a bunch of stills. Near as I can tell no one had a "nice" jump there. They all look like they crawled over it. Is there a point to that my lower level self is unaware of? And awkward is the only term I can come up with. It didn't seem particularly dangerous, it just seemed to ride really badly. To paraphrase Karen O'Connor, "What's the point in proving to a horse what he can't do?" I would think a fence like that is unnecessarily frustrating and disheartening - plus the weird effort required would seem rather taxing, esp. to no good purpose. Now, I *think* I understand the question it was supposed to ask. But there didn't seem to be a good answer to it. Can you get your horse back and balanced quickly after a big jump down into the water? Well, kinda, but no, not well. :rolleyes:

"Kick on". Okay, I know what is meant by this little catch phrase. And there is a TON of good advice behind this little gem. However, where's the counter balance to it? Maybe we need to have some serious discussions around its counterpoint, "Pull up". Maybe it's something we need to actually teach and practice (as is done with jockeys and exercise riders at the track). The whole idea of knowing when to kick on and when to pull up lies at the very heart of horsemanship - does it not? And I am NOT saying any human will always get it right - not by a long shot. But when on course, in the face of a problem, isn't that the ONLY question? There really isn't time for "what ifs" or senarios is there?

I have seen people discussing the AT incident and what must have been going through her mind. I certainly can't say. But given any real on-the-fly problem, it's the only question that matters. And, frankly, isn't it the only one you have time to make?

Exhaustion. Not just the horses, but also the riders. Exhaustion dulls the mind as well as the body's reaction time. Both horse and rider must be fit enough and have wind enough to complete the course. This has nothing to do with weight (although some riders looked a bit thin to me!). Yeppers, both horse and rider will be very, very tired. But that IS different than exhausted. And THIS is what makes me miss the 10 minute box so much. Here we got a chance to see the heart rate normalize (or not), at least in the horse. Can we get A, B & C back? I don't know. But, honestly, there does need to be something that evaluates the condition & soundness of the horse before XC.

I honestly did not truely "get" the Long vs Short issue before. Maybe I still don't. Maybe we need a Medium format now. Don't know how it would work, or what it might look like. That's for those who know far more than I do. But the idea that a horse (and rider) are in good enough shape (both condition and soundness) to attempt an mid or upper level XC course that day (or even the next day) needs some serious consideration.

SCFarm

YankeeLawyer
May. 7, 2007, 10:52 AM
Be aware, though, that a safer sport may become a tamer sport, and tame may not be what draws you, like moths to a flame, to a high risk sport.
You are going to have to choose between your addiction to risk and greater safety, if not for yourself, then for your partner, who, lets face it, does pretty much what you ask of him/her, to the best of his/her abilities and his/her training, and when things go badly wrong, is often the one who suffers the most.

Denny, that is part of the problem. We are talking about a sport where people will debate for hours whether they should even wear helmets. Riders are not always quick to embrace safety rules.

canyonoak
May. 7, 2007, 10:55 AM
OK.

If eventing TD's compile accident/injury info at each event, that data must be somewhere.

So-- how about if the safety committee asks for all the data compiled--wherever it is--and produces a breakdown for the rest of us.

it seems to me that will be a start to geting a handle on all this.

If it is not at USEA , it must be at USEF.

Who knows,perhaps the FEI will even be interested in the data.

Of course, not even going to speculate on what the FEI weasels will do with the data, but Im thinking indoor eventing may be the future of the 'sport'.

Nevertheless, there has to be a starting point and collecting the data seems a logical starting point. or is it?

The British have had a safety committee investigating fatalities since 1990.
That is SEVENTEEN years ago--and look where we are today.

But--maybe someone can contact someone at the British safety committee and move the data from research to solutions.
Solutions that work, I mean.

YankeeLawyer
May. 7, 2007, 11:01 AM
Whoever said Amy is all of us is dead on. We all are AT in the eyes of those outside the horse world.

Uh no, sorry.

Catersun
May. 7, 2007, 11:13 AM
I think that in my area, the place to start is with a pony club group and an Old Person's Pony Club.

I'm starting my share... what are you doing?

YankeeLawyer
May. 7, 2007, 11:27 AM
I think that in my area, the place to start is with a pony club group and an Old Person's Pony Club.

I'm starting my share... what are you doing?


I think there might be some form of adult pony club in some regions; I had brought this up before and seem to recall being told there was. Anyway, I think it is a super idea, particularly for amateurs who missed out on pony club as kids.

(but "Old Person"? You mean like 24, 25 year olds?)

PiedPiper
May. 7, 2007, 11:29 AM
Denny, that is part of the problem. We are talking about a sport where people will debate for hours whether they should even wear helmets. Riders are not always quick to embrace safety rules.

For someone who doesn't even event how do you make this statement? I know that on COTH there has been endless talks on the Hunter board about helmets but most eventers do wear their helmet. What basis do you have for any of your above statements? What research, first hand experience, etc have you done to prove those remarks? And this is a sport that has a mandatory rule for approved helmets for every rider LONG before the hunter/jumper and dressage worlds did.

Also eventers, in general and due to the sport, are very apt at updating and accomandating new safety changes. We, as a sport, understand how safety is vital and how every day new technology comes out and new research is showing ways to improve. Eventers are some of the most safety conscious riders out there in regards to fitness and safety.


************************************************** *******
To be honest what I am starting to get tired of is the amount of criticism and quarterbacking by those that have never stepped a toe into this sport. How can anyone purport to give solutions to problems that they know nothing about? I don't dare go over to the dressage board and tell them how to sustain the longevity of a Grand Prix horse or tell those on the hunting board how best to ride a whole season or tell someone riding the A circuit how best to manage a string of horses for a season. Why? B/c I have no knowledge of them and wouldn't dare make that assumption.

Improvements and solutions are always welcome and eventers are always looking to make this sport a better one. Some times "solutions" fall flat but it is never with lack of effort or with ill intent. We care about our horses and the wellbeing and happiness of our partners and almost every eventer I know walks away from a competition happier about how "happy" their horse was cross country than about a ribbon or prize money. Why? B/c we greatly enjoy what a thrill this sport is to our horses and are less likely to keep a horse in it if it's heart isn't.

Okay done with my rant and back to doing what I am paid to do so I can afford this wonderful sport. :D

War Admiral
May. 7, 2007, 11:32 AM
I'm thinking more stringent vet checks might be a good place to start.

If I've been reading the various threads correctly, 1 horse had a genuinely random accident when he staked himself. The other 2 had known, long-standing soundness issues, and one of them had even been sold by a prior owner with the understanding he would be dropped down several levels.

So why *either* of these horses were competing at the top level is a question I would reeeeeaaaallllly like to see addressed.

We all, regardless of discipline, know that there are plenty of perfectly legal ways to make a horse pass a jog. (Heck, given sufficient prep time, I can make *Avery* pass a jog - with no substances involved, legal or otherwise - and he has +9 ringbone, is retired, and carries no rider faster than a walk!)

Maybe it's time to consider closing some of those loopholes.

Another thing lower-level riders can do is scope out your trainers very carefully. I've presently got a little mare who seems like she *may* want to flirt with low-level eventing. The trainer I'm planning to work with is the one whose horses go lightly and correctly in dressage without undue use of devices, are well fit and well prepped for XC, and who told me in a casual conversation a couple of years ago that she loves low-level eventing but considers a lot of what happens at the upper level to be abusive. Sounds like a genuine horsewoman to me....

canyonoak
May. 7, 2007, 11:39 AM
Can we please have one thread that just stays on point.

Go use google. The number of horse fatalities and rider deaths has been increasing over the past 20 years or so.

WHY?

well, that is the multi-part $64 question.

Is it the number of competitions/number of riders?
(more rides/riders, more chances of accidents)

Is it the short format?
(horses not conditioned the way they used to be, more chance of problems when asked for MORE jumping efforts per course?)

Is it the growth of sponsorships/money?
(riders not really ready but want to try for prize money)

Is it the lack of basics as more riders decide they are ready to move up?
(lack of knowledge how to really prepare horse/self for competition)

The FEI Report on Eventing and Safety: Nov 2005

http://www.horsesport.org/PDFS/C/05_01/General%20Instructions.pdf.


Ive contacted the Safety person at British Eventing, asking them for data.

Please-everyone. Take personal comments and emotions to other threads.

JSwan
May. 7, 2007, 11:41 AM
PiedPiper - I love you.

I no longer event - but love to watch the sport. I have dabbled in just about everything over my lifetime - and I've found the sport of Eventing to be the one that has always been at the forefront on safety for both horse and rider, emphasis on conditioning, training, education, etc.

Folks have been pretty brazen throwing out accusations and passing judgment.

How many horses (and people for that matter), are maimed, severely injured, or die every year? It happens everywhere. Just as no amount of engineering can produce a safe automobile, or safe highways. Accidents happen - and most of the time, in hindsight, could have been avoided.

That's the tragedy. If only we could see into the future. Barring that - we have to try as best we can to protect the horse and rider. And Eventing does its darndest to do just that. Many of these posts make it seem that this sport has made NO efforts to increase safety. Quite the opposite.


For someone who doesn't even event how do you make this statement? I know that on COTH there has been endless talks on the Hunter board about helmets but most eventers do wear their helmet. What basis do you have for any of your above statements? What research, first hand experience, etc have you done to prove those remarks? And this is a sport that has a mandatory rule for approved helmets for every rider LONG before the hunter/jumper and dressage worlds did.

Also eventers, in general and due to the sport, are very apt at updating and accomandating new safety changes. We, as a sport, understand how safety is vital and how every day new technology comes out and new research is showing ways to improve. Eventers are some of the most safety conscious riders out there in regards to fitness and safety.


************************************************** *******
To be honest what I am starting to get tired of is the amount of criticism and quarterbacking by those that have never stepped a toe into this sport. How can anyone purport to give solutions to problems that they know nothing about? I don't dare go over to the dressage board and tell them how to sustain the longevity of a Grand Prix horse or tell those on the hunting board how best to ride a whole season or tell someone riding the A circuit how best to manage a string of horses for a season. Why? B/c I have no knowledge of them and wouldn't dare make that assumption.

Improvements and solutions are always welcome and eventers are always looking to make this sport a better one. Some times "solutions" fall flat but it is never with lack of effort or with ill intent. We care about our horses and the wellbeing and happiness of our partners and almost every eventer I know walks away from a competition happier about how "happy" their horse was cross country than about a ribbon or prize money. Why? B/c we greatly enjoy what a thrill this sport is to our horses and are less likely to keep a horse in it if it's heart isn't.

Okay done with my rant and back to doing what I am paid to do so I can afford this wonderful sport. :D

findeight
May. 7, 2007, 11:43 AM
I do not think this is a recent issue...at all.

Eventing has always had a reputation for accidents and being hard on the horses...and I go back to the first time I ever heard of it-the Mexico City Olympics in, like, 1960. The TV had a shot of the thing with a horse down in the water and rider trying to hold it's head up. I was 10 or so and cried for a week.There were 2 fatalities in that one. Here we are 60 years later.

I would love to see the specific statistics on catastrophic injury/death to rider and horse in upper level Events over the years to see if there is a perception this is an unacceptable problem or if it actually is and has been over the years. I would also love to know if it's still damn the torpedoes full speed ahead or if any thought of alternatives is really stressed in many top barns...riders are a product of their coaching. Do Eventers assume it's a sting and press on or are they coached to consider pulling up should they feel a mistep? Better to err on the side of protecting the horse even if it proves minor? Or just kick on (and yes, I know the implications of that phrase)?

And, you know, if you ride and compete in anything you do represent all horse sports to the uninitiated and have to speak for all and defend all. The actions of one do effect us all and each rider represents us all.

I am an outsider but...you know..reading the other 2 deaths "were not on course and should not be counted because one bled out". Are you kidding?

PiedPiper
May. 7, 2007, 11:46 AM
PiedPiper - I love you.

I no longer event - but love to watch the sport. I have dabbled in just about everything over my lifetime - and I've found the sport of Eventing to be the one that has always been at the forefront on safety for both horse and rider, emphasis on conditioning, training, education, etc.

Folks have been pretty brazen throwing out accusations and passing judgment.

How many horses (and people for that matter), are maimed, severely injured, or die every year? It happens everywhere. Just as no amount of engineering can produce a safe automobile, or safe highways. Accidents happen - and most of the time, in hindsight, could have been avoided.

That's the tragedy. If only we could see into the future. Barring that - we have to try as best we can to protect the horse and rider. And Eventing does its darndest to do just that. Many of these posts make it seem that this sport has made NO efforts to increase safety. Quite the opposite.

Well JSwan, a big I love you back atcha! :lol: :lol:

I feel this is turning into another trainwreck like all the other trainwrecks that have less to do with the actual topic at hand and more just a constant beating on the subject while they are down. A real pile on without any real substance or "solutions".

I have no problem with constructive criticism but one, have some knowledge about the subject at hand, and two have a solution with your complaint. One without the other is just bitching and is unproductive.

annikak
May. 7, 2007, 11:50 AM
There is Horsemasters, which is run by USPC, using their principles and guidelines. And, I do know there is one somewhat close to you! You can check on ponyclub.org (http://ponyclub.org)for contact information.

Not sure where Rusty is, but I am positive that there are statistics available, as any insurance company would want to keep track of this. USEA has great insurance. So,stands to reason, I think.

I wonder with all the horses that have had accidents before this, such as the horses that Karen rode and Bruce rode that ended up a casualty of the sport, if there was a full autopsy done. Maybe there would be signs that the horse had a tendon or other issue. And what abt the Polo ponies and the race horses? The other sports, too must compile records.

Maybe they might give the statistics if they had time, but they have a huge kettle of fish to fry right now.

dirtgirl
May. 7, 2007, 11:52 AM
Here's the page for FEI reports on eventing safety.

http://www.horsesport.org/c/safety/safety.htm

vineyridge
May. 7, 2007, 11:54 AM
Vineyridge-
I agreed with the point of your post! I'm no expert, and I'm not going to add much to this thread (but I"ll read along and hopefully learn something). I too think that it's silly that there was a very controversial and total change of the sport a couple of years ago and now eventing is "mysteriously" dangerous and in trouble. Come on people. While it may not be obvious, and it is clearly going to be very complex to fix, it IS obvious that the same big name riders are out there competing in a totally different sport than it was. Anyway, I could go on and on about that but I won't.

I am posting to comment on the Antigua comment. While I agree with your point, I think you chose a very bad example. Antigua had a stunning dressage test Friday and then one of only a handful of Double clear rounds Saturday. That is not to say that He would have run if it had been Long format, but this is a VERY capable horse with LOTS of running left in him. And he was not spun at the jog on Sunday (main reason why I'm posting. Being spun is a big deal). Will did not present Antigua at the jog on Sunday morning. I was told by a friend of Will's that Antigua stepped on a clip Saturday and while he was basically sound, he was a bit ouchy. They expected that the horse would be 100% ready to go in a week tops, but no need to present and SJ a horse that was not totally feeling it. That is a VERY good decision on Will's part, especially since he was in 4th place after XC and had he jumped double clear Sunday would have won Rolex. But he put his horse first.

I'm sure you meant no harm by your comment, and I"m not being harsh or mean. I just think that Will deserves something for his decision, atleast for the facts to be correct. If anything, what Will did for his horse last weekend was a brilliant example of what Eventers should be and how they should put their horses before any personal or competitive goals. Thanks Denny for the good conversation and for being so active in bettering our sport! I'll go back into pseudo-hiding now, but I'll be reading along to see what I can do.

My apologies to Will Faudree. I knew that Antigua had had a wonderful dressage test, and a very fast and clear XC. For some unknown reason, and I should have looked at the Rolex Leader board before posting, the idea that he was spun got into my head. For withdrawing such a wonderful horse for injury without subjecting him to SJ, Will and all the others connected with Antigua deserve commendation. His actions show true horsemanship.

lovetojump2
May. 7, 2007, 11:55 AM
There are two ways to look at this sport, the way it is, and the way we wish it would be. If right now it`s a sport in trouble, and it`s hard not to think that, with so many deaths and crippling injuries, then we can either wail about the fact, or we can try to fix it.
How can we fix it?
Get involved. Join the USEA, join the USEF, and speak up and don`t let other people make all the decisions that affect you. or your children, or your horses.
I rode in my first event in 1962, and the sport of 2007 is nothing like the sport of 45 years ago. All sports evolve, and they do so because of people.
You can let other people run things, and then you have to take what you get, or you can decide to be a player.
Being a player takes a degree of courage, because you have to sometimes take stances on issues. You can`t "hide".
But if you are smart, and analytical, and logical, and if you are compassionate about horses, which you are, then other people will have to take you seriously.
I have a friend who said to me last year, "Eventing has lost its compass."
I agree with him, sort of, except for one thing. There is no such thing as "eventing" Eventing is only what people make it, no more, no less.
So my question is this: Are you going to sit by and let "them" decide what eventing shall be, or are you going to get involved in the fray?
It`s really that simple. And that hard.

The serious accidents lately have been in the upper levels with experienced horse rider teams, not so much the lower levels who are the target of the "dangerous riding" rules. My theory: Courses used to be big open galloping , now there is many, many places where one must slow up significantly. However the speeds have not changed. So if you want to win you must run like fire in other parts of the course which means you take some of the more straight forward jumps at speed. More speed than one would like in some cases

YankeeLawyer
May. 7, 2007, 11:59 AM
For someone who doesn't even event how do you make this statement? I know that on COTH there has been endless talks on the Hunter board about helmets but most eventers do wear their helmet. What basis do you have for any of your above statements? What research, first hand experience, etc have you done to prove those remarks? And this is a sport that has a mandatory rule for approved helmets for every rider LONG before the hunter/jumper and dressage worlds did.

Also eventers, in general and due to the sport, are very apt at updating and accomandating new safety changes. We, as a sport, understand how safety is vital and how every day new technology comes out and new research is showing ways to improve. Eventers are some of the most safety conscious riders out there in regards to fitness and safety.


************************************************** *******
To be honest what I am starting to get tired of is the amount of criticism and quarterbacking by those that have never stepped a toe into this sport. How can anyone purport to give solutions to problems that they know nothing about? I don't dare go over to the dressage board and tell them how to sustain the longevity of a Grand Prix horse or tell those on the hunting board how best to ride a whole season or tell someone riding the A circuit how best to manage a string of horses for a season. Why? B/c I have no knowledge of them and wouldn't dare make that assumption.

Improvements and solutions are always welcome and eventers are always looking to make this sport a better one. Some times "solutions" fall flat but it is never with lack of effort or with ill intent. We care about our horses and the wellbeing and happiness of our partners and almost every eventer I know walks away from a competition happier about how "happy" their horse was cross country than about a ribbon or prize money. Why? B/c we greatly enjoy what a thrill this sport is to our horses and are less likely to keep a horse in it if it's heart isn't.

Okay done with my rant and back to doing what I am paid to do so I can afford this wonderful sport. :D

Wow, Pied Piper, I was not aware you were an expert on my background. I do not personally event, but have owned horses that have. I have also trained with some world class eventing trainers. And I own a horse right now that shows a lot of promise for eventing, and I am really struggling with whether to send him to the very excellent trainer who wants to take him in that direction or whether to take the horse a different route. So I am not completely removed from the sport. I don't purport to be an expert on it, but frankly probably know quite a bit more about it than a lot of people here. Your attitude, by the way, exemplifies a big part of what I am talking about. The "leave us alone, we know best --it is *our* beloved sport how dare you all criticize us" point of view.

In terms of my expertise, not that it is any of your business, but I have done extensive work in my professional life involving safety in equestrian sports, including congressional investigations into the same.

In any event, since you never miss an opportunity to say something incredibly nasty in response to my posts, I suggest you simply ignore them rather than try to read something into them that I never intended.

vineyridge
May. 7, 2007, 12:08 PM
Would it do any good to restore Roads and Tracks before XC, but not have Steeplechase? You could set a time that would demand a good warm-up and have a vet check both after Roads and Tracks and after XC. Of course, it's really roads and tracks that require so much land.

The endurance people have lots of experience with vet checks during competitions.

dirtgirl
May. 7, 2007, 12:10 PM
OPPC's are for those of us beyond the age limit of PCs - isn't that early to mid 20s?

I'm with you CBud, I'm in my 40s age-wise, but not old!

If you look at the FEI's safety report or the presentation that was made in Feb. 2006, what strikes me is the number of starters almost doubled between 2002 - 2005. From 6,500 to 12,100. Now these are FEI numbers at the higher levels one thru four star competitions if I am reading the stats correctly.

I know in the U.S. the number of starters has also risen dramatically.

magnolia73
May. 7, 2007, 12:11 PM
We are talking about a sport where people will debate for hours whether they should even wear helmets.

That was the hunters.

I think the problem with "little" people creating change in horse sports is that for the most part, we are ignored or don't feel empowered to speak up. A whole lot of "MYOB" or only the opinion of a **** rider counts goes on. Whether its a BN rider questioning what Amy Tryon did or a local hunter rider questioning why some Big name hunter trainer was suspended for drugging. It's a whole lot of - not your business and white washing by the sports.


It would be nice if when accidents occured, the USEA could issue a statement that said "XYZ was euthanized on course at ABC event due to a fracture of the leg cause by a fall. It is beleived that footing contributed to the incident and the jump caused 6 other refusals. To date, 3 horses were euthanized at events this year, a 4% increase over previous years."

The problem is, as Findeight mentioned- the sport reflects on ALL horsepeople at all levels. When I hear someone rides saddleseat, first thing that comes to mind is some horse with huge shoes and hot pepper on its butt. I know very limited info about gaited horses...... but that's what I know. And I know that there are very wonderful gaited farms out there that don't do that stuff. But still- first impression. We certainly don't want eventing to be known as the sport where horses die because riders take crazy risks. The sport I have respect for is endurance- and it DOUBLED when I saw their accountability toward accidents. IMO, that is a sport that could be a train wreck that took the bull by the horns and puts HORSES first. They do crazy stuff- dangerous trails and push those horses, but they sure take monitoring seriously.

jvk8
May. 7, 2007, 12:14 PM
Gnep is on to something important. The bill for the short format is coming due; riders that shouldn't be moving up yet are moving up on horses that shouldn't be run at that level. Horses are being run too often. There seems to be a really big difference between a true CCI and all the other forms of eventing. He's also right about showjumping over solid obstacles during XC. WHY in the name of all that's holy do the courses have to be so unforgiving and so technical? At Badminton, it looked as if a number of riders opted for the slow routes, and still were able to do fairly well. Not so at Rolex.

One example of a horse that was questionable for Rolex. Antigua is 18, for pete's sake; if Rolex had been long format, do you think she'd have gone? She was spun on Sunday.

Bad decisions, conditioning issues, lack of specific information makes horses and riders the guinea pigs for a sport that has drastically changed. The learning curve has had to be very steep and it's still not clear just what needs to be learned.

I'd love to see data on whether the slow options are sometimes/usually/always the kiss of death. It ought to be possible to take a slow option and make up the time somewhere else on course.


Please note: Antigua pulled a shoe on XC & stepped on a clip & had a sore foot. And was withdrawn before the jog (not "spun" really).

kcooper
May. 7, 2007, 12:22 PM
I have been thinking a lot about safety lately -- but for a different reason. I finally feel safe on my horse. This is the first horse I have brought up the ranks and I got her green and very unbalanced from a hunter barn. She is now ready to go Prelim. For the first two years I had her, XC was not fun. She was figuring things out -- mentally and physically -- and I never felt secure or that I could trust her. Last season that started to change and now I feel like we are competent and save on XC.
This has made me think a lot about what goes into a safe XC ride and what are the factors that have changed that finally allow me to feel safe. There is so much involved n XC -- balance, speed, the horses understanding of the obstacle, the riders understanding of the obstacle, the footing, the pitch of the ground at takeoff and landing, the lighting, on and on. I think that one of the problems with how things have evolved is that too many fences make issues of too many of these factors all at once. Even a horse with a lot of experience is going to be seeing an ACTUAL fence at a 4* for the first or second or third time, tops. There is a lot to read at a really fast pace. And we all know that sometimes fences don't ride the way we walked them so the riders face surprises as well. In some ways, each jump is a leap of faith -- that what you think you are seeing really exists. This is true at the lower levels to some extent, but you are only dealing with a couple of "judgement" factors at each obstacle at that level. And obviously, the lower levels teach the horses about the different components they will face as larger obstacles.
I would be interested to see if it is possible to do a study that analyses these types of factors in jumps. Maybe there is a cut off for some horse/rider combinations of just how much info can be absorbed in a matter of seconds. There was good research done for the development of frangible pins, so the people who worked on those projects should be consulted right away.
Or, maybe we just need to build back in more opportunity for the most basic XC principle -- go forward and jump big and you will be rewarded - not punished. In many ways, I think jumps today are safer -- better built, less airy, less rotten wood. But the big thing that seems different to me is complexity. Even at the T and P levels, there is a LOT going on at some obstacles. And maybe this impacts the ability of the horses to just take a BIG BOLD jump at a table or an oxer because they are now more wary of what will be on the other side. There have been several bad crashes at the more straightforward obstacles, and those to me are more baffling than the mishaps at combos or water. Perhaps horses have the need to second guess in a way that they never used to. I know my horse has finally stopped doubting and now that she is confident going forward and jumping big, I feel safe. Maybe the courses need to give some of that forward confidence back to the horses and riders.

LLDM
May. 7, 2007, 12:36 PM
The serious accidents lately have been in the upper levels with experienced horse rider teams, not so much the lower levels who are the target of the "dangerous riding" rules. My theory: Courses used to be big open galloping , now there is many, many places where one must slow up significantly. However the speeds have not changed. So if you want to win you must run like fire in other parts of the course which means you take some of the more straight forward jumps at speed. More speed than one would like in some cases

Thanks for posting this - I had wondered the same. But, not knowing these things, I do have to ask: Have the way the courses are wheeled and time calculated been adjusted for the the very technical jump clusters? Or are we really asking for more than 550MPM (?) in other aeas of the course?

Thanks,

SCFarm

findeight
May. 7, 2007, 12:38 PM
Here's the page for FEI reports on eventing safety.

http://www.horsesport.org/c/safety/safety.htm

That appears to only track rider injury/fatality. Where are the statistics on horse injury/fatality?

Interesting...the ****level has the fewest participents and the highest percentage of falls. By alot.
You'd think it would be less likley, not more, at a level where competitors are assumed to be the best prepared/trained/conditioned.

LLDM
May. 7, 2007, 12:46 PM
That appears to only track rider injury/fatality. Where are the statistics on horse injury/fatality?

Interesting...the ****level has the fewest participents and the highest percentage of falls. By alot.
You'd think it would be less likley, not more, at a level where competitors are assumed to be the best prepared/trained/conditioned.

Try this link: http://www.horsesport.org/c/PDFS/2006FinalReportonEventingSafety.pdf

SCFarm

Weatherford
May. 7, 2007, 01:00 PM
Findeight - Mexico City was in 1968 - there was a cloudburst/flood in the middle of the XC day - I agree, it was horrific.

Also pretty horrific in Rome - even without the Italians changing the arrows so riders were getting lost on R&T! Somewhere there is a photo of one of the great Aussie riders jumping the drain pipes - that is REAL CONCRETE drainpipes - max height and width jumping lengthwise - jumping with the END (hole) facing them!

For those intereted in the OPPC - check out the AIRC (www.airc.ie) - the Irish Riding Clubs.
They run events (SJ, D, Eventing, as well as training and, of course, parties) for amateurs along the lines of pony club. Riders are rated and not allowed to compete above their level. Safety is very important - and the highest level, Advanced Open, is Open "may compete at any level". The Riding Clubs are very popular and, I believe, provide an opportunity for adult riders to get the kind of lessons (Pony Club style) that they don't generally get from just a trainer or coach. (Including safety and horse managment).

I don't know how this can be incorporated in the American thinking - but, perhaps it would help alleviate some of the issues mentioned above.

CBudFrggy
May. 7, 2007, 01:20 PM
Beginning with the thread about safety, and then the one about conditioning, and now this one, I've had the horse-rider safety issue mulling around in my frontal lobe for about a week.

First of all, I haven't evented *yet*. I had one cross-country school and I was hooked. I also realized at that schooling opportunity that (1) my greenie needed WAY more traditional flat work under him (our background is trail riding, jumping logs in the woods and camping); and (2) we have the aptitude to probably go no farther than training level. So, we re-signed up for lessons; threw his butt in formal flat training; and I've resolved to become more fit for both our sakes. These were the first steps I've taken to accept responsibility for my horse's and my safety.

And let me just add that I live in South Florida--land of no eventing venues, land of no pony club, and land of no XC trainers. In fact, I sent my horse to a reining trainer b/c he turns out the most wonderful mind-reading push-button horses I've ever ridden--but that's enough of that.

I do not have personal experience with eventing's history. I don't remember the long format. The first horse trial I went to was Red Hills in 2002. I'm pretty sure that was a short format. Maybe not. I think I walked 30 miles that day all over the place.

I think Gnep may be right though--the XC questions are more technical than they need to be.

I always thought, other than bravery and courage, the purpose to eventing was to show you were a versatile rider and rode a well-trained horse that could handle everything--dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping. That's my approach to my preparation for our first BN. My horse and I should be able to do all three on any given day or three days in a row.

So, as a member of the lower strata of the competitors, I would love to know what I could do to make eventing what we want it to be. For me, I want it to be the opportunity to show my horse is versatile, accepting the aids on the flat, a complete blast to gallop cross-country and still be able to come into the show ring and be rate-able over fences without being a silly goose. I don't have to be the best, just better and better everytime. And, yes, I want it to be safe.

So, if anyone has any ideas about how I, personally, can make a difference and be counted in re-defining the sport of eventing, I'd love to hear it.

eqsiu
May. 7, 2007, 01:21 PM
One example of a horse that was questionable for Rolex. Antigua is 18, for pete's sake; if Rolex had been long format, do you think she'd have gone? .

Why on Earth is 18 too old to be at the top of the sport? That is what riders should be aiming for. Not a horse that's going advanced at 8 and having soundness issues at 12. I would really like to do the young event horse competitions with my 3 year old in a few years, but there is no way in hell she'll be ready to jump 3'3" next year or 3'7" at five. Even if the fences are supposed to be easy training level fences. The top riders are showing horses in YEH classes that are already at training and prelim. Perhaps four year olds are just not physically mature enough to run training. Hell, their hocks don't close until they're 4 or 5.

Perhaps riders are trying to bring horses along too fast. Maybe the qualifications need to require more experience from both horse and rider. A minimum horse age might make riders focus on proper training and bringing horses along from the bottom up rather than trying to shortcut the basics. Or perhaps qualifications for CCIs at one level should require a long format CCI and the level below. Riders would need to be educated about conditioning and it would preserve classic eventing for those who value it. Really, there is only one long format CCI** in the world this year, and none at the three or four star level. Can someone explain to me WHY these are still CCIs and not CICs? I just don't get it!

adamsmom
May. 7, 2007, 01:30 PM
OK.

If eventing TD's compile accident/injury info at each event, that data must be somewhere.

So-- how about if the safety committee asks for all the data compiled--wherever it is--and produces a breakdown for the rest of us.

it seems to me that will be a start to geting a handle on all this.

If it is not at USEA , it must be at USEF.

There is some data. But not all data on all falls. That's what makes the studies being done by BE, the FEI & TRL unique and better.


Who knows,perhaps the FEI will even be interested in the data.

Of course, not even going to speculate on what the FEI weasels will do with the data, but Im thinking indoor eventing may be the future of the 'sport'.
They are, and they are compiling quite readable, understandable, realistic reports with the data. I believe links to those reports have been posted.


Nevertheless, there has to be a starting point and collecting the data seems a logical starting point. or is it?

The British have had a safety committee investigating fatalities since 1990.
That is SEVENTEEN years ago--and look where we are today.

But--maybe someone can contact someone at the British safety committee and move the data from research to solutions.
Solutions that work, I mean.

That has been done, and is an ongoing process and discussion.

LisaB
May. 7, 2007, 01:33 PM
Weatherford, I LOVE that idea. For those of us who missed PC, it would be fabulous to do the same ratings.
Here's a thought. I've heard some of the kids today are not doing PC because of the political factors. Their parents basically aren't mature enough to deal with soccer mom types is what I get from it. Maybe we need to bring PC into this foray? Are the membership numbers down?

lstevenson
May. 7, 2007, 01:36 PM
Can someone explain to me WHY these are still CCIs and not CICs? I just don't get it!



I would love to know the answer for this as well.

IMO the new short format DOES have something to do with all of the increased fatalities. That combined with what I wrote on Denny's thread. That is the fact that the speed was not changed when the courses are made much more technical and turning. I believe it was simply overlooked, and needs now to be addressed. If every other jump is a complex that requires significant slowing down, they should lower the speed required. Otherwise horses have to gallop so fast between the jumps and at the easier jumps that they are making mistakes and falling at some of the galloping jumps, or becoming exhausted at the end (which contributes to breakdowns).

jumpforjoy
May. 7, 2007, 01:49 PM
Denny,
I am so grateful you are brave enough to take on this topic.
I am not an eventer, but have always aspired to get there one day. Well, after the last few years of horse and rider fatalities, I aspire no more...and in fact, am wondering if I will ever return to Rolex to watch the competition. I love horses, and while I assume there is always some risk involved... the risk I have observed is just too much for me to accept. This is supposed to be fun..this is a sport, not a grand mission for God and Country.
My husband is an avid Grand Prix car racing fan, and he said racing reached this same point in the 60s until Jackie Stewart took the lead to change the sport. It takes the leaders of the sport to really get the ball rolling.
I do have a question for you tho, (maybe a stupid one) you and Jimmy Wolford (sp?) always say how much the sport has changed. I am assuming it has become much more challenging, especially in the cross country phase. Did it have to evolve that way? If so, why? Why have the x-country jumps become so incredibly difficult? Were there as many horse and rider fatalities when you were riding?
I hope the powers that be can figure out a way to make this sport fun again; I really want to be at Rolex next year.
Again, thank you for your comments.
--Laurie

SGray
May. 7, 2007, 02:03 PM
random thoughts

how about adding a vet check as in Endurance - right after CC - a horse that does not meet minimum standards for recovery would be spun - and the Best Conditioned horse would have 5 penalty points subtracted from their score?

how about adding penalties to riders if their horse is injured on course ?

LisaB
May. 7, 2007, 02:12 PM
The do that at the CIC and CCI levels. Unfortunately that's completely cost ineffective at the ht level. There is a vet on hand at all times and if an official sees a horse in trouble, they can call the rider in.

silver2
May. 7, 2007, 02:13 PM
Fairweather- from my perspective (My perspective being that I used to event as a kid in the 80s and considered getting back into it around the mid-late 90s, going so far as to bop around a couple Training Level events) I've seen a major change in the depth of experience of horse & rider.

In the late 90s I kept meeting people who were ready to move up from say, Prelim who's only experience riding x-country was at competitions + 3-4 schooling days per year. Horses no longer come from the hunt field (or the hunt field has been reduced to 100 acres and six lonely 3' coops) so often they're learning too. This is a common in CA, it may not be on the east coast so much.

silver2
May. 7, 2007, 02:21 PM
One last thing!

As long as eventing has sponsors and is televised and sold as a family friendly spectator sport then I don't think it's realistic to say non-competitors shouldn't criticize the way it's run. If you really want to circle the wagons around eventing, you're going to have to take it off NBC for starters ;)

hb
May. 7, 2007, 02:31 PM
I think that a while ago, I'm not sure exactly when, we came to a fork in the road. One way was to continue the big galloping fences and the other way was to go the 'more technical' route and make xc more difficult. There seemed to be a consensus that speed and height and width had reached their maximum and so the way to make it 'more difficult' was to make it technical.


Sorry if I'm repeating what others have said, I don't have time right now to read the whole thread but will tonight. Just wanted to add that I agree with this post, and have another question:

Why the need to make it more difficult? Horses are still horses. Runners see no need to make Marathons longer, why the need to increase the difficulty of events?

Also, the mini-vet check discussed on the first page, that was the 10-minute box at a full-format event. And it was a good thing. A structured warm-up followed by a vet check should not have been removed from the competition.

IIRC, when I was eventing years ago in Canadian competitions they also had a jog-up before stadium at horsetrials in addition to three-days. That might not be a bad thing to do in the US also.

sm
May. 7, 2007, 02:46 PM
Crossed my mind about a class action suit against the FEI on changing to the short format without adequate study on the health of our horses. It's as if the cavalry didn't know what they were doing with the horses when they devised a military test... but the FEI board of directors does? Without any studies to back them up?

The FEI absolutely knows they make mistakes, they made some huge mistakes in the past. It seems they didn't bother to think things through for the horses -- just went political.

Would like them to answer a lawsuit, they keep pledging welfare for the horses is their utmost concern. Defending themselves against a lawsuit would be a small price to pay:



: I`ll give an example of what I mean when I say if we let other people run things, then we have to take what we get.
After three horses died in two weekend`s worth of four star eventing, there are going to be all kinds of rationalizations about "accidents can happen slipping on your porch steps, etc, etc, etc,etc."
But four star eventing, as it is presently constituted, has not simply the potential to kill horses, it is currently killing them. That is a fact.
So we can say, "Well, that`s the way it`s always been, it`s very sad, and life goes on" That`s the easy way out.
Or we can say, "As a person who loves horses, I am finding this unacceptable. I want the FEI, the USEF, the USEA, to have a national or international symposium aimed at creating measures which provide a greater safety net for these animals who trust us to keep them from harm.
I do not accept the status quo, and I am going to fight to make my voice heard."
That`s much harder, because it forces personal involvement.
The choice is each of ours to make.


* * *

Anyway, the first post on this thread is working on me like a vitamin pill. One day you'll be proud of passing the reins onto the next generation, Denny, at least I sure hope so.

CBudFrggy
May. 7, 2007, 02:54 PM
I have to say, also, I would be in support of any type of mandatory schooling cross-country at least one-weekend per year supervised by USEA/USEF/FEI judge at your level of competition. In other words, before I can event BN, I have to show the judges that we're safe, fit and able to compete at that level. After all, pro golfers have to go to golf school if they don't score well enough during the season.

What would be wrong with a weekend XC college? I would love to participate in something that would allow me to be evaluated by an impartial judge who doesn't know me or my horse. In that way, you would be evaluated not by your own trainer who might be holding you back (against your will) or pushing you forward (against better judgment), and for us DIY-ers, we'd have impartial input into our abilities.

Just a thought...

RAyers
May. 7, 2007, 03:17 PM
There are two ways to look at this sport, the way it is, and the way we wish it would be. If right now it`s a sport in trouble, and it`s hard not to think that, with so many deaths and crippling injuries, then we can either wail about the fact, or we can try to fix it.
How can we fix it?
Get involved. Join the USEA, join the USEF, and speak up and don`t let other people make all the decisions that affect you. or your children, or your horses.
I rode in my first event in 1962, and the sport of 2007 is nothing like the sport of 45 years ago. All sports evolve, and they do so because of people.
You can let other people run things, and then you have to take what you get, or you can decide to be a player.
Being a player takes a degree of courage, because you have to sometimes take stances on issues. You can`t "hide".
But if you are smart, and analytical, and logical, and if you are compassionate about horses, which you are, then other people will have to take you seriously.
I have a friend who said to me last year, "Eventing has lost its compass."
I agree with him, sort of, except for one thing. There is no such thing as "eventing" Eventing is only what people make it, no more, no less.
So my question is this: Are you going to sit by and let "them" decide what eventing shall be, or are you going to get involved in the fray?
It`s really that simple. And that hard.

Denny,

While this is a good thought, what is missing is direction. Simply asking folks to "take control" lends itself to disarray as much as anything. There still MUST be leadership to directly confront the powers that be! To simply ask folks to get involved is a beginning but they need to be informed as to who, what and how to change things as well as have appropriate representation (ala, Gnep's "Riders Consortium).

Right now, many people do not trust that the USEF or FEI have our best interests. At the same time many believe that upper level riders, trainers, and officials are so removed from the day-to-day aspects of the typical rider that they are operating as loose cannons. They may be great horsemen but they are insulated by the system in place that supposedly allows for input from the masses.

I recently challenged decisons directly to some of the top USEF officials/riders/trainers (not the USEF Safety Committee) simply to be "poo pooed" and dismissed as a person "disconnected" or "uniformed." What mechanisms are ther to be sure I can be heard?

We also need a person of power and reputation, Denny (ahem, hint) to help lead the change.

Reed

P.S. while there a lot of good thoughts who will pay of a lot of the ideas? For instance since 75% of the eventers live on the East Coast, how do we get help in the West? Will we have to travel to simply get "rated?" To me this is more regulation in a time that more communication is needed.

hunter-eventer-hunter
May. 7, 2007, 03:28 PM
Denny is on the right track. Eventing is not what it once was. When I 'graduated' to eventing from 10+ years as a junior in the hunters (15 years ago), I felt like I had been admitted to a club of super horseman. These were people who knew how to wrap porter wraps, polos, standing wraps, condition train, knew more about shoeing then you average farrier, knew what every bit did, and could best just about anyone I knew in the H/J world about horse care. They knew every little detail of jumping what were to my mind insanely technical jumps XC

Today, I see kids at the 5th, 6th, 7th Horse Trails where they have never completed all 3 phases at BN. That is crazy. Lord knows I leave something to desire as a rider, but I can get my mare over just about anything we can see over. And I balk at today's prelim courses. XC has gotten too technical. Remember that eventing was devised as a test, we used to know what we were testing for...we don't now.

LisaB
May. 7, 2007, 03:30 PM
CBud,
Ah, no.
That would be called a hunter round.
I don't want to be judged on my style on x-c. These judges would have to be rated, there would have to be a set of standards, etc.
And folks like Phillip D and Blythe Tait would be constantly marked down. They are unconventional in their style but wickedly effective and damned good riders. Just not stylish and traditional.
You would have a bunch of riders on x-c looking like they smelled a fart (i.e. Darren)

sm
May. 7, 2007, 03:55 PM
That appears to only track rider injury/fatality. Where are the statistics on horse injury/fatality?

I'm googling away here, and not finding the numbers on horse fatality. Here's the best I can find http://www.horsesport.org/c/safety/safety.htm

Falls, which I can find, don't even account for minor injury numbers (one can fall and not be injured). More to the point, LeSamurai never fell at Rolex 07. Both Badminton horse fatalites couldn't be considered a fall.

Did anyone find the FEI numbers on fatality over the past five or ten years?

Fence2Fence
May. 7, 2007, 04:27 PM
From FairWeather's post: (sorry couldn't get the quote function to work for me): What was the rolex course like 10 years ago, in comparison to this year?



What a great question! I visited my first Rolex ten years ago and haven't missed one yet. The course is NOTHING like it was then. I watched it, enthralled, thinking, I HAVE to do this sport. Now, I'm not so sure. The courses have gotten stupidly technical.

I need to dig out the pictures I took of that Rolex and post them on-line. Nothing like today.

DancingPretense
May. 7, 2007, 05:52 PM
So well and probably very on the money.


Please tell me the new party line on the short format isn't now about "land restirctions." This was sold as a bill of goods as all about the safety and longevity of the horses. Anyone here feel that the safety and longevity of the horses has been improved in the last two years? Anyone?

I was the person who stood up at the convention two years ago and handed in the petition in favor of the long format. I was the person who had several big name riders then attack me, tell me I didn't know anything, and be dismissive and rude. I got a lot of thanks from signers of the petition. I even got a thanks from Kyra and Jo. But in the end, I don't know that it amounted to a hill of beans. I suppose I have the dubious distinction of managing to get four Olympians to roll their eyes out of their heads and on to the floor simultaneously. Yay me.

Anyone else who was there remember me being asked, point blank, by a rider of great repute, "Don't you want to see our horses be stars? Don't you want to see them have careers that last longer?" As though those of us in favor of the long format were just a bunch of idiot horse abusers who wanted to break down horses.

My heart breaks for Amy Tryon. I know she is a consumate horsewoman and that look on her face during the NBC coverage today says it all about how crushed she is. But, am I the only one who finds it somewhat ironic that her two previous horses, My Beau and Poggio, had decade long careers with double-digit long format completions and are both still going strong, while the one horse whose career has been primarily short formats suffered a catastrophic breakown at a short format? I grant you it's a sample size of one, but I can't be the only person who's thought of this.

My concrete thoughts on the matter: The short format is NOT safer for the horses. I want some significant research done, short versus long. Has losing A,B, and C removed some key componenet of warmup or the safety net of the 10 minute box? Is it the short format course design? Is it course design in general? Is it the types of horses we are now selecting? Movement over soundess? I'll admit I have a pro long format bias, but seriously, where is the reasearch? Something has gone awry. We can all, me included, sit around and guess, or we can demand (and agree to pay for) the research that will give us answers.

I want to also add finally, that there does seem to be a notion that a day with a bunch of clean rounds is a "failure". That course designers design to try and make a challenge for , say, Winsome Adante, unquestionably one of the best horses in the world. I've no idea if this is true, but it occurs to me that without dumbing anything down, let's not worry about the "freaks" for lack of a better word. Design the best course for the ground, the day, the weather, and the field. If Dan smokes through it like a hunter course, people aren't going to be dissapointed, they are going to be thrilled! If 5, or ten, or 20 people come home double clear, that shouldn't be a failure.

I'm willing to get in to the firing line again, though Ihave new address, a new life, and a new job (I've turned pro), so I don't have the easy access to the big time that I once did. But, what the heck, I can handle a little more scorn!

Phoenix Farm aka Heather B(ailey)

CBudFrggy
May. 7, 2007, 05:56 PM
CBud,
Ah, no.
That would be called a hunter round.
I don't want to be judged on my style on x-c. These judges would have to be rated, there would have to be a set of standards, etc.
And folks like Phillip D and Blythe Tait would be constantly marked down. They are unconventional in their style but wickedly effective and damned good riders. Just not stylish and traditional.
You would have a bunch of riders on x-c looking like they smelled a fart (i.e. Darren)


Perhaps I mis-typed: Just for competence's and safety's sake, not for style points.

Hidden
May. 7, 2007, 06:02 PM
I would think it is time to bring the Save the Three Day back again. The short format is proving what it really is and we are starting to get the bill. Even Woffert says that event horse careers will be shorter because you just can't hold that level! This should be a thunderclap for those who said the long format was not safe. However, I also agree that I don't trust the FEI and other governing bodies to do what the silent majority want, even the non-silent minority. They do what they want to, and we/the lowest competitors do not get to question. I have no respect for the governing bodies at this point, and will most likely have less once they rule on L.S. So what can I do? I can go watch/volunteer and ride at those events I support and take my entries and time else where for those I do not. I will no longer be playing up "let's go to Southern Pines/the Fork" whatever at the barn, nor posting when eventing will be on TV. I will do my lovely little patch and the rest of them can go to H-E-double l. Until there is voting and knowledge of what goes on at the top.. we can't be represented - as was shown with the original Save the 3Day effort. I join no associations since they are not representative of my view and I don't get a say.

denny
May. 7, 2007, 06:04 PM
So the question keeps getting raised, "Who can we trust?"
Why reinvent the wheel? We can trust Kyra Stuart and Jo whitehouse to be our leaders. They are smart, compassionate, and committed.
But we can`t tell them to go tilt at the big bad dragons (you can probably guess who I mean!), and then not follow right behind them with all the firepower we can muster. That would be really unfair.

poltroon
May. 7, 2007, 06:54 PM
On Antigua being 18...


Why on Earth is 18 too old to be at the top of the sport? That is what riders should be aiming for. Not a horse that's going advanced at 8 and having soundness issues at 12.

Indeed, I think it's a testament to how much better things are now than in the 'good old days' that we have quite a few eventers doing the top level competitions - and winning them - at 16, 17, 18, 19. Custom Made was up there when he won his Olympic Gold. Indeed, I can think of more winning older horses in eventing than I can in show jumping, with the grand prize winner being jumper For the Moment who was still winning at 21.

I haven't evented recently, but what I have seen in California is that there has been a lot more emphasis on good and consistent footing, and that is because riders from BN to Advanced lobbied for that and voted with their feet. It seems to me that footing is perhaps as important as course design and rider fitness when it comes to reducing injuries at all levels.

poltroon
May. 7, 2007, 07:07 PM
I think we're kind of going all over the map here. It would help to have statistics - serious rider and horse injuries per starter.

Some of this data is not to be had. If your horse finishes x-c, but lame and never competes again, at the lower levels currently no official at the competition would know.

At the CCIs, currently the vet check is done before stadium. Maybe we need to jog them BOTH immediately following cross country AND before stadium. I suspect that at first there'd be a lot more spun horses and then we'd get a lot better fitness. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to add a jog for soundness after x-c at all levels. They do it for hunters.

It just occurs to me that the thought process might go a little differently if you have a bobble at the end of the course if you knew you were galloping straight to a jog. You might be more likely to slow up to give the horse more time to recover or to more closely evaluate the situation.

RAyers
May. 7, 2007, 07:11 PM
So the question keeps getting raised, "Who can we trust?"
Why reinvent the wheel? We can trust Kyra Stuart and Jo whitehouse to be our leaders. They are smart, compassionate, and committed.
But we can`t tell them to go tilt at the big bad dragons (you can probably guess who I mean!), and then not follow right behind them with all the firepower we can muster. That would be really unfair.

I agree. No, I don't want to reinvent the wheel, but so long as the effort seems to only come form "small players" it is too easy for the powers that be to dismiss things for the status quo. Jo and Kyra are a good place to start. I will gladly join the fight as hard as I can, given there are people who will not fade nor approach this task half-heartedly.

So, how do we support Kyra and Jo? We lobby for rules, we join the associations, we attend meetings, we work hard in our own areas to push the effort from the grassroots. I know that I, as well as Gnep, are active in our areas. Is there anything else?

I have to admit, I feel this will be the "Man from La Mancha" but I always have tilted at windmills. :)

In all honesty, my view is that this is a sport that is imploding and nothing will stop it. No, eventing will not go away but it will never be what it was. Whatever comes from the ashes will be entirely new.

Nothing like a little revolution to ferment change.

Reed

Hidden
May. 7, 2007, 07:19 PM
Didn't we go down this route before with Save the 3 day? What has changed in the FEI? Why would anyone think that they would react any differently? I don't see why this would be something new.. just "those people" again. There was no study before, there is no fact finding now. Unless the USEF comits to gather the information (I would guess for at least a year) it is just the same discussion. I guess I would join and pay an additional fee for special information to be gathered and analyzed for all recognized events in the US. I'm not sure what info should be gathered but if you don't have a rock of data to stand on, you fall into the same emotional trap.

RAyers
May. 7, 2007, 07:25 PM
Hidden,

I will go back to what I said during the Save the 3-Day routine, we need to get out of the FEI! The IOC has too much power and it is not directly aimed at equine welfare. It is aimed at revenue. The bigger the TV audience, the better. It is a Eurocentric system that fails to account for other countries and the USEF keeps trying to play "Keep up with the Jones'."

Reed

Gnep
May. 7, 2007, 07:38 PM
What my biggest concern is that without the necessary fire power nothing will happen. A lot of people in my area have already given up to try to change things, because its as if you run into a rubber wal. You do that for a while and than well.

2 examples the 3D Task Force, what are the results or findings. Anybody heard anything.
There was a very productif and sucessfull meeting at Rolex of Safety....
When are we going to find out what that means.
If they can e-mail the members for input, than they can e-mail the members what the conclusions of that meeting were.

It is all behind closed doors and if you are not part of that inner circle than you have no right to know.

TB or not TB?
May. 7, 2007, 07:44 PM
I will go back to what I said during the Save the 3-Day routine, we need to get out of the FEI!

Do you really think this is likely? I'm not trying to be critical, just thinking about where to best focus efforts. At this rate I fully expect Eventing to be dropped as an olympic sport anyway. Who knows, that could be the impetus the sport needs.

Besides, what would we do, start a whole other eventing federation and secede from the USEA? We could be: US3DE. Actually, I like that idea. I call president. ;)

No, unfortunately, I think we have to change from within. Otherwise we'll get branded as extremists and division-ator-ists... and that would be not supportive of the ultimate goal.

TexasTB
May. 7, 2007, 10:54 PM
It sounds like a good place to start would be to DEMAND a study on

A. injuries and accidents and how they relate to course design, footing, rider error, etc

and B. the short format and whether it does live up to its claims of being "safer" etc.

Without concrete details we can go nowhere, and dont have much to back up any of our assertions. So lets fight for the data, then fight for the change

Gnep
May. 7, 2007, 10:55 PM
TBor not TB,
I do not think that Reed is thinking about a new USEventing, but He believes, as many others do, me included, that the USEventing is jumping through loops and oops to do what ever it needs to fullfy IOC or FEI requierements.
I personally believe that Eventing without the IOC would do much better.
There are a lot of sports that thrive, equestrian and others, without being Olympic.
The Olympic Games are like the Temple in which we sacrifice the golden calve and we had our sport sacrificed to keep it in the Olympics. So 3 guys could get a Medal and for national chest beating and big money.
If it were to NBC Producers, we would have to even more screw up our sport, so it could sell more TV ads, so it gets on air. We are like the Wizzard Aprentice, we called the gosts and now we lost control over them.
We see 6 or 7 riders on the TV, 2 weeks later, and we roll over and thank the gods of TV.
It was a bull shit show, crap.
But as long as we are so eager and thankfull, because it might bring big money, to sell our sport, we get what we earned.

We do not need NBC, or ABC or CBS and the big money promiss they might give us, because if we keep on dancing to the demands and promisses of the board rooms we will go day after day to the tempel and get sacrificed.

Eventing is, or maybe was, such a glorios sport, that it can stand on its own feet and should have the pride to do so.
Endurance, is what it was, brutally tough, no TV, they have sponsors, no Olympics, they make their own rules, but I bet anybody, the moment they go Olympic, they are F.....
Tevis Cup, not on TV. If you, fellow Eventers want to know what is realy TOUGH, go watch the Tevis, it makes Rolex look like childs play, period ( or like a circus show ).

silver2
May. 7, 2007, 11:01 PM
Personally I wouldn't want the governing body to do the study for conflict-of-interest reasons. It would be better for it to be independant and it wouldn't be hard at all for any group to get it done.

All you need is the raw data either in paper or electronic form, then get a university level researcher on board and write a grant for $50-75K to analyze it, including writing up a report and if possible a white paper. You probably won't get a clearcut answer but at the very least you would get suggestions on what kind of info was statistically useful to collect and what wasn't.

Hidden
May. 7, 2007, 11:13 PM
My point is that to affect any useful change, we need to direct our current powers (USEA) to get the data. Let's define what would be useful to determine , safetly/fitness etc standards. Actually, I am starting to feel this would be a really useful and positive thing we can/should do. Then, armed with information those who care can revamp/re-invent or just break on thru to the other side. At this junction all there available is hearsay and sensational stories. What would be appropriate information to collect? How long to collect? What levels to do the collection? When you pay the fees let's add a $1 for data collection. They collect results, let's add a few more items of interest. Nothing that could be subjective (sorry that means about footing)

How many falls on course, of horse, of rider? How many jumping efforts, how many horses retired/eliminated. What do the jump judges see, on XC, in SJ about horse's? What else???

TexasTB
May. 7, 2007, 11:20 PM
So whats the best way to pressure our governing body to do something?
Writing letters is always a good idea.
Should we petition? Or has the limited success of ST3D proven that to be of little benefit?
Some have suggested not attending certain events, etc, but for that to have much effect, there would have to be a mass boycott before the governing bodies pick up on it.

Any other ideas?

Gnep
May. 7, 2007, 11:51 PM
Texas,
You can not boycot our organizers, they are stuck in the mill as much as everybody else.
You boycot our events you kill the sport.
We as riders and non officials, have no power till we organize. 3D went down the drain, because we were happy to leave it to the organization. The few that spoke ou got beaten up. Either we organize and become a counter weight or we become sheep again.
It is as simple as that.

TexasTB
May. 8, 2007, 12:08 AM
Gnep, I was in NO WAY encouraging boycotting events or organizers
I'm sorry if it came out that way, what i was trying to do was make much of the same point you are.. looking back i guess i didnt articulate my thoughts very well, which is not very unusual for me :winkgrin:

ksbadger
May. 8, 2007, 12:10 AM
There's been some speculation about how to evaluate rider's or horse & rider combination's cross-country performance or adequacy of their experience & fitness to move up. Again I have to point north of the border to the Canadian practice. There any horse above BN has to have a passport similar to the FEI one where the show secretary records the results. You have to show successful completion of lower level events before you will be allowed to move up. It will also show DNFs etc. (Having trouble opening the Forms page on the Eventing Canada site to check their latest requirements). While this requires a lot more work by the Show Secretary plus the not inconsequential cost of the passport itself, it does allow an easy method of checking eligibility without the extra expense of seperate judging system.

I still wonder how this thread has, apparently, moved from a general request on how to improve safety to aspects that probably concern (or at least apply to) less than one tenth of one percent of the active eventers in the US. (Zips up flame suit.....)

BarbB
May. 8, 2007, 12:28 AM
I was going to keep my mouth shut, but what the heck, it's late and I'm tired enough not to care.
The only thing that I have heard on all of these current discussions that holds a hope in hell of making a change is to force the USEA to tell the IOC to go jump. We don't care, we don't want you....you are wrecking our sport.
I used to be a big believer in the idea that being in the Olympics was important to our sport.....but the IOC has forgotten about sports other than what looks good in a 10 sec byte.
Our determination to stay in the Olympics has cost us the 3day and given us course designers who put together ridiculous courses for the sake of TV coverage. I admit that a whole bunch of jumps look better on TV than a horse galloping along and jumping out of stride....where is the TV drama in that?
I have done a total turn around in my opinion, we not only don't need the Olympics but we need a way to recover from the damage done by giving in to the demands of the IOC.
I think that finding a way to force this issue might save the sport. Might.

As far as all the safety studies.....Several years ago there were several rider deaths all close together. Polly Phillips comes to mind as one of them. There were some right before and right after. The exact same discussions and the exact same ideas were kicked around back then. Nothing ever came of it except some experimentation with frangible pins. Nothing is going to come of this uproar until the sport is taken back by the participants.
When the goal is to be TV friendly and do whatever the IOC wants....real safety issues can't be discussed.....they will be swept under the rug just like the last time.
So my vote is go to the root cause.....the IOC....cure THAT problem and then turn to the ones that matter to the participants in the sport.
I could get behind this.

TB or not TB?
May. 8, 2007, 12:43 AM
Gnep - thanks for explaining - that makes much more sense. I thought Reed meant that we should do away with the current governing bodies, FEI and USEA both. I get it now :)

I have an idea but I don't know how you all will like it. Feel free to shoot it down and then tar and feather me if it doesn't float your boat. :p;)

First, we should have some records of horse problems in recognized competitions because we have the results. So we know how many people were E cross country, how many people WD, R, were DQ, etc, and how many were turned at the vetting. This wouldn't list injuries but it might give us a picture into what sort of numbers we're looking at - and how it's changed over the years.

So we go through the stats and figure out what's what. Then we have some ammunition. Now it's not a lot but it's better than nothing. At this point I would say we submit an editorial to PH and EventingUSA news (or both) to bring this to "the average eventer's" attention, and urge them to write to USEA or FEI investigate the real horse effects. Including e-mail/fax number would be super.

I realize this is a baby step, but I'm guessing a lot of folks either aren't aware of the problems or (more likely) are angered/frustrated but have no idea what to do about it. If we make our quest PUBLIC with input from the common man the whole way, we might have a bit more weight to our punch.

I'm also trying to think positively - we know what we DON'T have, which is $, support from People Who Count (except for our beloved Denny), hard facts about horse injuries, and a snowball's chance in hell, but we also have some great resources. Through this board there are people who might have the connections we need. There are people who are writers, scientists, researchers, editors, and more. There are folks who know so-and-so and know the real reason such-and-such-horse didn't finish Badminton last year was because ______. There are people who have ridden at the upper levels, people who own horses at the upper levels. People who know legal proceedure. Folks who are involved on a grassroots level and have the ability to reach those the internet can't. We are COTH eventers, damn it. :yes:

If no one has any major issues with my idea to go through event results, let them speak now or forever hold their peace. Otherwise I'm going to start looking and compiling data. I was going to go to eventingnews.com as a starting spot - anyone have a different suggestion?

This concludes my patriotic exposition for the evening. Go hug your horses. Or better yet, let me hug your horses because I don't have one of my own at the moment :D

PhoenixFarm
May. 8, 2007, 01:32 AM
Thinking more on the reasearch issue.

I went to the evening thing at Rolex a few years back whee they had two British researchers discuss the findings of a study they had done comparing the metabolic recovery rates of horses that had competes in a short format and long format CCI**. As I recall, the horses were different, but the xc day had been the same day for both sets.

Basically, their findings were that neither format appeared to be significantly different on the horses in terms of meatbolic shifts and recoveries.

I remember listening to them and thinkging, well, there you have it, the short format isn't "easier" on the horses. Then I llistened to several of the top riders in attendance, and pro-short formaters.

Their questions and comments basiccaly boiled down to the following points.

(1)This reasearch says nothing about the wear and tear on the legs. (2)Steeplechase breaks horses down. (3)Metabolic stuff is interesting, but we all know that it's the legs that are the issue.

I remember walking out of that presentation, and turning to my husband and several others and saying, well, thats it. You (the royal you) will never be able to design a study to prove that the short format won't break down horses, because the attitude of the riders starts with the phrase "Everybody knows . . ."

So while I still adovcate the need for reasearch (and will with my last breath), I remember that night and wonder if there will ever be a study whose findings will convince people (on any topic, not just short versus long) who don't want to be convinced. People that want to see eventing as a cruel sport by its nature will not believe that sometimes accidents just happen. People who are responsible for the direction our sport has gone in will not want to hear that perhaps they voted rashly, and that the horses have paid the price. People who make a living deisgning courses will not want to hear that they need to make a change in the thing which has brought them acclaim.

The hardest thing in the world to think through is a gray area, and my gut feeling is that there will always be a gray area involved in terrible tragedies like these.

Just look at some of the other threads--1/3 of the people believe AT is a horse abuser who commited a willful act of creutly, and 1/3 of them believe she did everything right. There is another third who believe she is a good person who loves her horses and meant no harm but had a moment of completely bad judgement and made a terrible mistake tha will haunt her for the rest of her life. The only thing the first two-thirds do agree on is that the latter third is wrong.

No matter what the FEI finds, a whole bunch of people are going to be unhappy.

*#^$%# gray areas.

vali
May. 8, 2007, 02:05 AM
II don't think it's just a problem caused by the shift to the short format. 've been eventing for many years, and over the past five years or so I've seen a dramatic shift at all levels in the level of technicality. The highest level I've ridden is Prelim, but even at the lower levels the fences and combinations have become much more technical and picky. You used to only see full coffins at Prelim and above, and now you frequently see full coffins with skinny elements at Training. You also see half coffins at Novice, and drops into water at Novice. At the upper levels many of the combinations don't ride smoothly and consist of awkward angles and distances. No one expects the upper levels to be easy, but I've spectated at Rolex several times and the combinations used to look fabulous if they were well-ridden. Now you just are thankful if they somehow make their way through intact. I don't think courses encourage horses to be bold jumpers anymore, and there is absolutely no room for pilot or horse error. I love eventing and the event community, but it's come to the point where I'm thinking of quitting because I'm not sure I want my two young daughters to event.

RAyers
May. 8, 2007, 02:12 AM
ksbadger, you are spot on right! And that is the problem with the current governance of the sport. The USEF/USEA have gone so far to follow the FEI on the upper levels that the lower levels where the everyday person and the majority of riders are have been "forgotten."

Gnep, I appreciate you help! Thanks for clearing my thoughts up. You have heard me rant enough about this recently.

BarbB and Phoenix Farm you both echo my thoughts.

The idea of a "passport" sytem, combined with TB or not TB's ideas seem to me to form a good foundation to build up a grassroots effort as well as begin to collect standard data from all levels of eventing for safety.

I will be brutally honest here about my opinion. Please forgive my bluntness with this anaolgy. To me, in some of the recent tragic events the rider, course designer, whomever at the event pulled the trigger causing a death or severe injury. HOWEVER, the IOC/FEI bought, loaded and aimed the weapon in the name of TV ratings and revenue and forced it down our throats without thorough, studied consideration of facts.

I ama scientist and I would be very willing to help a study. I have volunteered my expertise in orthopedics, bone/joint engineering and materials sciences to the USEF Safety Committee in an effort to reduce costs and come up with new methods for safety. I have yet to hear from them. But I hope I can help.

I am willing to change things from the inside. Obviously, I am a bit passionate about this, like so many others. However, I am removed geographically and "reputationally" from the movers and shakers to be effectively involved.

Reed

IFG
May. 8, 2007, 07:34 AM
FYI, Reed and others, I did e-mail the safety committee and volunteer my efforts as an epidemiologist. I am not an expert on injury epidemiology, but I am quite good at study design.

I have not heard back. It may be because there are others whose work is more focused on injury and safety studies, and who are more qualified to do this work who are serving as resources (and this would be entirely appropriate), or it may be that they don't want the scientific expertise.

denny
May. 8, 2007, 07:45 AM
I think a useful exercise would be to try to ascertain the various risks that afflict the various levels.
1. Beginner novice. It isn`t fence hight or spread, or required speed, so what is it?
2.Novice
3.Training
4.Preliminary
With those 4 divisions, we cover all but about, what, 4-5% of all of the riders?
As so many have said, or implied, the 2 upper levels, 3 if we count the 4-star level, are sort of arrogantly impervious to being helped, because they circle the wagons, and tell all the little people (their words, not mine) that we aren`t capable of understanding "whatever" is going on in "their" world.
So, I`d rather get behind the USEA, not the USEF or FEI, and try to help the levels which ARE the sport, numbers wise, and where I might actually be able to do some good.
It`s not that I`m disinterested in the highest levels, so much as I don`t think "they" really care one way or another what I or the rest of us may think, so long as we keep providing them support, money, venues to ride, pictures on the magazine covers, and the various accoutrements of fame and glory.
I`m sure I was just like them 30 years ago.
So I`m feeling like that famous Biblical saying, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar`s, render unto God that which is God`s."
Let the USEF and the FEI worry about the top levels, and let me try to do what I can to make some positive contributions to the 4 lower levels where the enormous majority of us actually ride and compete.
Anything else feels like hitting my head against the cement wall of upper level indifference.

LisaB
May. 8, 2007, 08:01 AM
We should stay in the Olympics. As I was involved in a conversation with Lucinda Green at a clinic, I mentioned that we are at the mercy of the venue for the Olympics. It CANNOT be a Burghley, Badminton, KY, Adelaide by the sheer nature of what the Olympics is about. It should be a short format *** so it can be inclusive of different countries and it can be easier to build and easier to spectate. It is our marketing vehicle. As such, it is televised and watched by folks who think we are a horse race. I was one of them. I didn't know eventing from a hole in the ground. But we got tickets for the LA x-c which was 20 minutes from my house. And it got me hooked forever.
So, the IOC case is irrelevant. We need it, it should stay short format.
Look, the Ironman triathalon is the toughest in the world. Not the Olympics. The Tour De France is the toughest in the world. Not the Olympics. Why? Because they need space, terrain, etc to cultivate that kind of sport. Ditto for us.

frugalannie
May. 8, 2007, 08:19 AM
Quick answer: At Beginner Novice, its inexperience of horse, rider or both.

At Novice, ditto.

At Training, there is some of the same, but now increased speed and technicality are also coming into play. And how many "weekend warriors" assume they can move up in the levels when they can only schedule enough riding time to create a fit and trained horse for Novice? It becomes a case of one's reach exceeding one's grasp.

At prelim, we unfortunately can really begin to see the effects of the razor in the monkey's hand. Horses that are not quite ready under riders that are not quite ready being faced with more speed, more height and more technical difficulty. Yes, they can and do school prelim height and questions, but the challenge is to maintain concentration and focus when all three phases have been ramped up, and to do it when competing only a few times a year (especially compared to the big names who can easily have more course rides in one competition than I can do all year).

Now that I think about it, I think this is where some of the danger lies at all the lower levels. So few of us are really riding enough to have built up the muscle memory and reflexes to be able to react quickly enough to what is happening with our horses on course. Heck, we may be panting so hard we have no thought or perception other than to point at the next fence.

Perhaps one of the solutions lies at the intersection of exercise physiology and neurology. Maybe a series of self-administered tests, or an exercise/development program could be developed to allow riders to test their own physical readiness before getting up in the irons to compete, and to guide them for improvement. (Like, you shouldn't ride prelim unless you can stand on a bozu [sp] ball, doing squats, throwing a ball back and forth to a partner.)

Sorry, not well articulated, but I wanted to get the idea out.

FairWeather
May. 8, 2007, 08:25 AM
(From Phoenix Farm) I remember listening to them and thinkging, well, there you have it, the short format isn't "easier" on the horses. Then I llistened to several of the top riders in attendance, and pro-short formaters.
Phoe--I just picked up an old eventing magazine from 2004 I believe, where there was an interesting blurb from Jack LeGoff about the effects of the short format on horses, and the problems with jumping so many efforts with less time for recovery. Will have to go drag it out because it read as awfully timely.



I think a useful exercise would be to try to ascertain the various risks that afflict the various levels.
1. Beginner novice. It isn`t fence hight or spread, or required speed, so what is it?
2.Novice


I would imagine greenness of horse and/or rider, my question is how often are bad accidents happening at these levels that result serious injury to horse or rider?

denny
May. 8, 2007, 08:33 AM
Frugalannie, that`s very interesting, as it`s something I`ve wondered for years about what happened to Chris Reeve.
In September he won a novice division here at Tamarack, and a couple of weeks later he was 3rd in the Area One novice championships at Huntington.
He was a really nice guy, very open and friendly, and I`d chatted with him at each event. Here`s the thing, though. After both x-c and stadium, he was panting and sweating, and clearly unfit. He actually joked about sitting on his butt in airplanes too much, and how he needed to get fit again.
Then the following spring when he got paralysed at that event in, where, Virginia, I was shocked to learn it was at training level, and on the same horse.
Chris was just about ok at novice, and could probably have "gotten away" with his lack of fitness and lack of mileage at that level, but the training level got him.
So, when is it safe to move up? That would be a very positive thing to try to figure out, because I`ll bet you it`s a huge risk factor.

Hidden
May. 8, 2007, 08:48 AM
I can't disagree.. but it is easy to just say the routine excuse "inexperience" about BN/Novice etc. Without real data collected you can't really know can you? BN and Novice should be designed to be lovely rides, inviting and encouraging for horse and rider. Are they getting technical? I know lots of lower level riders that want drops into water, bounces on course and corners. They dream of getting the big stuff the larger levels get. And it seems organizers are trying to give it to them. What about the normal learning, progression that builds the experience? Why do the lower levels not know, care about that? Is it horsemanship? I think many courses at all levels in both stadium and XC are becoming very technical for the level they are supposed to be promoting. Let's get some information, course maps whatever. I think that we need to be proponents of the right way to bring a horse along with the course design as well as the "passport" idea of "you are eligible".

Paks
May. 8, 2007, 08:54 AM
Denny I think one of the main issues at the lower levels is control. Making the jumps technical is one way to encourage control but it increases the risk factor when dealing with cross country jumps.

I have two weird ideas will probably get flamed though the first one was from Littauer. Have a "hunt check" in the cross country phase. Mark a 20' x 20' square that the horse has to stand in for 20 seconds in the middle of the course. If the horse leaves before the 20 seconds it counts as a refusal.

The second idea is to put near the end of the course a tight bounce only it is a stadium jump with rails that come down. If a rail comes down it counts as a refusal. The trick with this one is you would have to have a jump crew of some kind for resets and a few other details would have to be worked out.

I feel both additions would penalize lack of control with out undue risk to the rider.

Thoughs?

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 09:05 AM
As so many have said, or implied, the 2 upper levels, 3 if we count the 4-star level, are sort of arrogantly impervious to being helped, because they circle the wagons, and tell all the little people (their words, not mine) that we aren`t capable of understanding "whatever" is going on in "their" world.
So, I`d rather get behind the USEA, not the USEF or FEI, and try to help the levels which ARE the sport, numbers wise, and where I might actually be able to do some good.
It`s not that I`m disinterested in the highest levels, so much as I don`t think "they" really care one way or another what I or the rest of us may think, so long as we keep providing them support, money, venues to ride, pictures on the magazine covers, and the various accoutrements of fame and glory.
I`m sure I was just like them 30 years ago.
So I`m feeling like that famous Biblical saying, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar`s, render unto God that which is God`s."
Let the USEF and the FEI worry about the top levels, and let me try to do what I can to make some positive contributions to the 4 lower levels where the enormous majority of us actually ride and compete.
Anything else feels like hitting my head against the cement wall of upper level indifference.

Oh, my. Yes, these are indeed the implications of this discussion-- and Denny has put them into very stark terms. As a non-upper-level rider (with some limited contact with ULRs), I am not in a position to see this big picture, so I'm glad that Denny has shared this perspective. I hate to question the attitudes of some of my heroes, and to widen the division between us (one thing I value about eventing is our comparatively easy access to greats in the sport), but on the other hand we can do more within our own area of knowledge and investment.

The good news: there are lots of us, and as this thread shows we bring a wide variety of expertise, sometimes from our day jobs. And it so happens that there is an administrative division too, between USEA and USEF, so we can concentrate our efforts.

In rowing there are two organizations: US Rowing, the NGB that reports to the USOC, and the Master's Rowing Association, which I think was formed in 1999 when adult amateurs in the sport got tired of having their needs ignored by US Rowing. Are we moving in that direction?

LLDM
May. 8, 2007, 09:12 AM
So, when is it safe to move up? That would be a very positive thing to try to figure out, because I`ll bet you it`s a huge risk factor.

Absolutely! Just look at the number of threads here about "Am I/are we ready?" to move up.

And it's not just the riders, it's the horses too. Some horses, no matter how well trained, can do well at one level and be totally maxed at the next. Some horses are not maxed at all, are perfectly capable of moving up, but their riders are not ready at all.

This is something I am really thinking about a lot. I have a really nice talented horse. But I really don't know, at any real detailed level, exactly what skill sets we will need to completely master at each level. I really worry I will miss something important!

I also know that it gives me great comfort and latitude at the very low levels to know my horse has the scope to do twice the heights and distances she's doing. BUT, and this is a big BUT - I also realize that I am not forced to be very accurate with her! And I know that this can create a very false sense of security!

Does anyone remember the old "Peter Principle"? People rise to their level of incomptence, and there they stay?

This was one of the true joys of Pony Club - You always moved up WAY later than you thought you should! :D It required you to pass ALL the components, including stable management, and ALL the riding skills at each level.

Just an off the wall thought... I know that Pony Club is struggling a bit these days. Maybe it's time to consider some type of a merger between the USEA and the USPC. Each would bring incredible value to the other. Pony Club has not had much success getting an Adult program off the ground, despite many calls for this. And PC loses many teenagers to regular eventing. BOTH need more volunteers, and many PC's run USEA events. And PC already has comprehensive standards in place as criteria for moving up. God knows they are HUGE on safety! Maybe it's time to consider this?

SCFarm

flutie1
May. 8, 2007, 09:19 AM
" But most of the riders at Rolex are quite slim."

Neither Amy nor Clayton are exactly lean body types are they? I think they're fit however as is Becky.

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 09:20 AM
Just an off the wall thought... I know that Pony Club is struggling a bit these days. Maybe it's time to consider some type of a merger between the USEA and the USPC. Each would bring incredible value to the other. Pony Club has not had much success getting an Adult program off the ground, despite many calls for this. And PC loses many teenagers to regular eventing. BOTH need more volunteers, and many PC's run USEA events. And PC already has comprehensive standards in place as criteria for moving up. God knows they are HUGE on safety! Maybe it's time to consider this?


This idea could have legs... there is already the Horsemasters Program that could perhaps develop a more formalized connection to eventers.

rebeginner
May. 8, 2007, 09:32 AM
I really like the idea of a hunt check on BN. It would go a long way to address control issues on XC. Perhaps have it slightly before the half-way point: just far enough away from the start box for the horse to figure out that it's on a course, but not so close to the end to interfere with the momentum associated with the finish line.

I am a rerider, and have only successfully competed at BN. (I have schooled Novice and some Training jumps, and got an E in stadium the first time I moved up to compete at Novice.) However, I have hunted my mare, which in these days is kind of a rarity. Because I have already schooled the concept of a hunt check, I'm able to go XC in the same loose-ring snaffle that I use in dressage. The point being, I have always wanted to make sure I have brakes. I'm not so sure my BN colleagues have similar equipment installed on their horses.

Gnep
May. 8, 2007, 09:33 AM
Denny I will ask some friends in Kraut Country, to explain to me ( a rather difficult task ) how their qualification system works. As much as I remember, it is based on expieriance, and rather strickt. They have a horse and rider system.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 09:39 AM
2 examples the 3D Task Force, what are the results or findings. Anybody heard anything.
There was a very productif and sucessfull meeting at Rolex of Safety....
When are we going to find out what that means.
If they can e-mail the members for input, than they can e-mail the members what the conclusions of that meeting were.

It is all behind closed doors and if you are not part of that inner circle than you have no right to know.

That is NOT true.
You all DO have a right to know, and will, as soon as I, and the committee members, can summarize, in a coherent manner, ALL the very good, very diverse ideas that came out of that meeting, and the further discussions that occurred over the weekend.

I have other duties here in the office that, unfortunately, do not revolve around Safety concerns. And I do not want to pawn off on my staff the task of putting together all that information when I'm the one who was intimately involved.

There is no instantaneous solution. We need to, and will, collect and analyze data, with the help of BE and TRL, who are the pros at it. And we will do it for more than one year. I hope, and believe, that data collection will become part and parcel of what we do at USEF.

I apologize that it seems to you all that we are politically motivated, withholding information and generally not interested, or at least not trying very hard. I can tell you that we are all very committed to safety in the short and long term, and NOT because of political motivations. Rather it is because our friends, colleagues, and equine partners are the ones being injured and killed. And we want that to end as much as any of you.

Leigh Anne

BarbB
May. 8, 2007, 09:49 AM
Leigh Anne
It's probably too old fashion to hope that someone kept minutes of the meeting, but surely someone at least took good notes.
In the interest of deciminating information, can't these be made available?
On the website, perhaps? Just a link to a word doc would work.
I don't think anyone is looking for a comprehensive report at this point, just information.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 09:57 AM
Leigh Anne
It's probably too old fashion to hope that someone kept minutes of the meeting, but surely someone at least took good notes.
In the interest of deciminating information, can't these be made available?
On the website, perhaps?
I don't think anyone is looking for a comprehensive report at this point, just information.

I did take minutes. It was a 6 hour meeting. Unfortunately, I don't do shorthand, so have to decipher my notes and listen to the tapes.
It's a time-consuming process.

But there will be a comprehensive report. That's what the committee wants to do. And that report will give far more information than just the minutes, honestly, because it will outline a strategic plan based on what happened at the meeting, and what happened at subsequent Event committee meetings.

We hope to have this done by the end of the month, if not sooner. I spoke with Melinda yesterday, and she is providing her own summarization of the meeting, the event and her impressions of what she saw.

What we want is a plan for the long term, to make not only eventing, but all of our sports better, safer, more conscious of what can, and does, go wrong.

We can't be knee-jerk about this. There are some who are blaming the short format for the accidents, but is there data to back that up? None of which I'm aware.

We have to make sure we make the right changes for the right reasons. Anything else runs the risk of increasing accidents.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 09:59 AM
For those who think we don't look at equine injuries and fatalities, that also is not true.
We review all of those that are reported to us as well.

CBudFrggy
May. 8, 2007, 10:11 AM
From down here in the land of no-eventing venues, I like the idea of the passport system for the horse, but shouldn't it be for the horse-and-rider team?

chaotic mind--technical questions and control issues, IMO, at BN should be in the SJ portion of the test.

As to the suggestion of the hunt check, it wouldn't bother me at BN or N--but I think by the time riders and horses get to Training level, it might interrupt the flow of the course.

LisaB
May. 8, 2007, 10:22 AM
Adamsmom,
Being a geek and fixing issues is what I do. So, when we suddenly have an 'error', I always go to 'what's changed'. I would look at stats and determine the exact 'error'. Then assess the changed part. 90% of the time, that's the culprit.
I hope this helps you out. I feel for you guys, you have a tough job ahead of you.

SGray
May. 8, 2007, 10:32 AM
........ Maybe we need to jog them BOTH immediately following cross country AND before stadium. I suspect that at first there'd be a lot more spun horses and then we'd get a lot better fitness. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to add a jog for soundness after x-c at all levels. ......

not just a jog for soundness - also, as with Endurance, a recovery check (heart/respiration rates) - to make sure that they are indeed fit enough for the level

Janet
May. 8, 2007, 10:49 AM
I will be brutally honest here about my opinion. Please forgive my bluntness with this anaolgy. To me, in some of the recent tragic events the rider, course designer, whomever at the event pulled the trigger causing a death or severe injury. HOWEVER, the IOC/FEI bought, loaded and aimed the weapon in the name of TV ratings and revenue and forced it down our throats without thorough, studied consideration of facts.
I agree. Once you start charging admission, or needing viewers for television coverage, you change from a "sport" to "entertainment", and add a new set of requirements and objectives.

Everybody is so enthusiastic about getting television coverage, but they don't think of all the unintended consequences.

Janet
May. 8, 2007, 10:55 AM
It is my understanding that, in both France and Germany, a rider has to pass a riding test before they are allowed to compete a a given level.

The logistics would be somewhat difficult in the US, especially in areas where the eventing population is dispersed. But I think the concept has validity.

Paks
May. 8, 2007, 11:04 AM
chaotic mind--technical questions and control issues, IMO, at BN should be in the SJ portion of the test.

As to the suggestion of the hunt check, it wouldn't bother me at BN or N--but I think by the time riders and horses get to Training level, it might interrupt the flow of the course.

Actually in the SJ portion the bounce really wouldn't have any effect on XC control which is where the problems are. The idea is to reward riders who have enough horse left to jump accurately and cleanly while on cross country and have enough control to do the same. Basically i am looking for a way to add technicality that would discourage the riders from being out of control on XC without risking life and limb.

The Hunt check was suggested by Capt Litauer to used at all levels (he also wanted to put a jump in the dressage test but I am not going to open that bucket of worms). This is going back to the military roots of Eventing where it was intended to be a test of a good military mount (Capt Litauer was part of the old Ft Riley crowd). Part of that would be the ablility to stop and wait until it was time to go on. he talks about it in his book common sense horsemanship.

Though I do understand the whole flow argument I am not sure that it is as big a deal as people make it out to be. Again we are looking for ways to emphysize control without risk to the rider.

Alot of my theories come from being a jump judge. I remember once judging an intermediate 2 stride combination. A horse came through very forward and bounced it. The actual bounce on course could be seen from my fence so I waited. Yes the ambulance did make a visit (horse okay never did hear about the rider). Horse did did have flow until then. A disruption of that flow might have created a different result. Whenever I think about safety I always think about than incident and what could be done to discourage that kind of riding. Having to teach your horse to stop in between the start and finish flags might help you control him else where on course.

I remember then Karen Lende giving a clinic the horses were all strung out and out of control at the canter/gallop She yelled halt NOW!!! everyone pulled up instantly. She then said if you can get your horse to stop that fast you can get him to shorten his stride.

I do appreciate your comments however. It does help clarify my though process

asterix
May. 8, 2007, 11:15 AM
I am mulling all this over, and am in agreement with much of what has been said.

We need to sort out the degree of distinction we want or need to draw betweeen upper and lower levels of the sport. That's clear from this conversation -- the really obvious terrible accidents we all know about tend to happen at the upper levels (although this season on the east coast alone we have lost one prelim horse and one prelim rider), but most of the "scary" riding we see is at the lower levels...plus the needs and demands of the average amateur are quite different from that of the upper level pro...

So that's one problem -- do we need a different assocation? How do the rowers manage that? In our sport we often compete literally side by side with pros in the lower levels -- how would it work if we somehow belonged to two different organizations?

I do not have anything useful to add on the subject of upper level accidents.

But having been at a well run local HT this weekend at Training, I once again came up against several instances of pairs who did NOT look ready, to me, to safely complete a fairly good-sized XC course.

Several kids literally careening around stadium, horses jumping in terrible form, knocking poles because of inverted shape and dangling legs, no apparent recognition (or ability -- hard to know) on the part of the rider that they should be doing SOMETHING to balance, connect, etc.

I did not see whether these riders had trouble on xc, but I cannot imagine they looked any safer. I did see an adult rider on a very fresh horse who could barely get her around stadium -- she was glancing off fences, throwing fits, etc. This pair had at least one glance off on xc and then a pretty scary crash at the water (right in front of my parents and SO, who are still freaked out about it. :( ), where they retired.

I do not think we should be complacent about this sort of thing. I think we should seriously explore the feasibility of a rating system, or test for moving up, for the lower levels. I know people will object, but self-policing will not work. Relying on instructors clearly doesn't work. The kids I saw had instructors, chuckling at how little Suzy was breaking the landspeed record in stadium. The adult was on his own.

Asking the officials at an event to be more proactive about dangerous riding is a good first step, but wouldn't it be better to work on raising the bar? Wouldn't it be nice to be at event, just once, where you DON'T find yourself saying "oh, god, those two are an accident waiting to happen?"

PhoenixFarm
May. 8, 2007, 11:26 AM
We can't be knee-jerk about this. There are some who are blaming the short format for the accidents, but is there data to back that up? None of which I'm aware.



You are correct there is no data to back this up--because there is no data period. And since the studies were never done before we went to an exclusively short format sport at the top levels, we won't really be able to collect pertinent data comparing the formats. Which as I recall, was the objection of a lot of people, including me, at the time.

Now that more people have decided we need the data, it's too late.

denny
May. 8, 2007, 11:31 AM
I don`t even want to think about another association. The USEA is perfectly well suited to serve the needs of 95% of event riders.
The other 5% happens to be the most visible, but if only 1/2 of 1% of all riders compete at advanced, then let all those USEF/USET programs deal with their specific needs.
There are lots of real, down to earth things WE can do to help our fellow riders.
One simple suggestion made YEARS ago by the late Randy May, former Area One Chairman:
Write a pamphlet (on line, or print, or both) entitled something like: "HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU AND YOUR HORSE ARE READY TO MOVE UP".
Isn`t one of you willing to spearhead that? Could we also fund such a pamphlet? That`s another real contribution we could make to the USEA.
There must be plenty of similar initiatives just waiting to be implemented.
Name a few, if you can think of some.

eqsiu
May. 8, 2007, 11:34 AM
Everyone is saying that riders need to prepare more. So my question is this. Entry form require a trainer's signature, so why are trainers letting students move up? I think education of both the students and instructors needs to improve. I recall riding with the only eventing trainer in my area, and at the only barn within 45 minutes that taught lessons. I went years without knowing how inadequate my education was. I went to my second event ever and she didn't coach me (though my parents were still charged). My horse bucked me halfway around the dressage warm-up. She was watching an old student in stadium. Cross country was running *gasp* 15 minutes ahead of schedule. I had no idea that I didn't have to go until my assigned time. I walked, trotted, cantered, and jumped one jump before racing to the start box. Where was my coach? Helping her daughter tack up when her daughter's ride was in two hours.

The USEA instructor certification program has done a lot to ensure that instructors are trained and their contact info is available to us, but there are still many other people coaching riders with little or no qualifications. I can't imagine this would affect the upper levels, but perhaps the USEA should require the coach's signature to be a certified instructor with an appropriate certification level? This might motivate others to get certified, and require riders to ride with a suitable instructor. Thus theoretically improving the safety of the lower levels by improving rider/horse preparedness.

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 11:34 AM
For those who think we don't look at equine injuries and fatalities, that also is not true.
We review all of those that are reported to us as well.

I don't doubt that, but is the information readily available, as it is to the Endurance community?

See http://www.aerc.org/Vet_Fatality_Reports.asp

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 11:43 AM
I don`t even want to think about another association. The USEA is perfectly well suited to serve the needs of 95% of event riders.
The other 5% happens to be the most visible, but if only 1/2 of 1% of all riders compete at advanced, then let all those USEF/USET programs deal with their specific needs.


In my comment about rowing, I didn't mean that we need a new organization-- I was agreeing that the existing division between USEA and USEF might be useful as the grassroots members of the sport try to shape it to our needs.

A move-up pamphlet is a good idea too. Or even unmounted clinics on making that decision.

As for trainers signing the entry form-- many people put themselves down as the trainer, since they attend competitions on their own. Are there any USEA regulations about who can sign as a trainer? Rules gurus?

eqsiu
May. 8, 2007, 11:50 AM
I forgot to add, every time I moved up I shouldn't have. I was eliminated at my first training. After a few horseless years and better instruction, I placed 2nd out of 18 at my second training. I moved up to prelim way too soon and it was a disaster in every sense of the word. I felt pressure from myself and others to move up. Apparently it's not fair to other cometitors to stay at a level when you're doing well, even if you're not ready to make the next jump. It's been five years without an event, and I am now dying to get back into it (though my current horse is three and obviously will not be ready for a while) instead of dreading events.

Coaches need to evaluate riders and decide if they really are ready to move up. Some riders want to move up and the coach goes along with it. Some parents expect too much from their kids. Some coaches want students to reflect well on them, and upper level students look better than BN ones. Whatever the reason, there are riders at every level at every event that are just not safe there. My other thought is perhaps sanctions should be placed on coaches in cases of obviously unsafe students. Not freak accidents, mind you, but the case of the little girl on the freight train that has everyone gasping while their fingers are set to dial 911? I think that would result in more thorough preparation of students. Because frankly, some instructors are a bit shady. And anyone can style themself a trainer.

FairWeather
May. 8, 2007, 11:51 AM
I find it interesting to read all of the proposed answers to ensuring safety and control for the rider and horse in this thread, but no accountability as to the changes seen over the last few decades of the actual XC courses. (Reiterating that I am a relative newcomer to the sport, having come from a H/J/E background, and am truly a neophyte in terms of actual events under my belt)

Again I ask, (which one person did answer) What is different about the courses of 10 years ago in each division versus now?

What about NOT having that jump on a blind turn that appears to be jumping a horse straight into a tree (visually, not actually).

Who out there determines what is "safe" to build on XC? Couldn't we start with picking the brains of XC designers to find out if they are aiming for the 'bigger, better, faster more' type courses?

I'm not suggesting "dumbing down" XC courses at any level, but where is the incentive to keep XC challenging yet safe? Of course, the idea of easing up on some XC questions certainly opens the door to less experienced people running courses they have no business running, but you have to depend on people taking responsibility for their own actions at some point.

RAyers
May. 8, 2007, 12:11 PM
That is NOT true.
You all DO have a right to know, and will, as soon as I, and the committee members, can summarize, in a coherent manner, ALL the very good, very diverse ideas that came out of that meeting, and the further discussions that occurred over the weekend.

I have other duties here in the office that, unfortunately, do not revolve around Safety concerns. And I do not want to pawn off on my staff the task of putting together all that information when I'm the one who was intimately involved.

There is no instantaneous solution. We need to, and will, collect and analyze data, with the help of BE and TRL, who are the pros at it. And we will do it for more than one year. I hope, and believe, that data collection will become part and parcel of what we do at USEF.

I apologize that it seems to you all that we are politically motivated, withholding information and generally not interested, or at least not trying very hard. I can tell you that we are all very committed to safety in the short and long term, and NOT because of political motivations. Rather it is because our friends, colleagues, and equine partners are the ones being injured and killed. And we want that to end as much as any of you.

Leigh Anne

Thank you for being open here, Leigh Anne. It goes a long way to making sure whatever choices and decisons are made will be supported.

As for the short format being the culprit, your comment
We can't be knee-jerk about this. There are some who are blaming the short format for the accidents, but is there data to back that up? None of which I'm aware. goes right in hand with my statement that the FEI made a decision with NO data whatsoever to back it up. They simply said it will be better for the horse. They operated on a knee-jerk response to the IOC and that is why many don't trust them. At the same time, yes there is a study in the UK at a CIC** and a CCI** run concurrently that showed NO difference between the requirements on the horse physically which means the CIC is just as hard as a CCI and contradicts the FEI statements.

Reed

Anne FS
May. 8, 2007, 12:11 PM
Just an off the wall thought... I know that Pony Club is struggling a bit these days. Maybe it's time to consider some type of a merger between the USEA and the USPC. Each would bring incredible value to the other. Pony Club has not had much success getting an Adult program off the ground, despite many calls for this. And PC loses many teenagers to regular eventing. BOTH need more volunteers, and many PC's run USEA events. And PC already has comprehensive standards in place as criteria for moving up. God knows they are HUGE on safety! Maybe it's time to consider this?

SCFarm

Good idea.

I've been involved in Pony Club for many years. There is huge debate about Pony Club "struggling." Why? PC is not losing teenagers to regular eventing. The big debate is that it is losing kids to non-jumping, non-outside the ring riding. Over the past couple of years pony club has actually changed its ratings schedule to accommodate those who don't want to jump. HUGE debate. It's actually been posted on the DC Digest (DC = District Commissioner) that pony club's purpose from now on has to be to serve "the urban horseman."
So that debate rages on (LOL) as to whether we cater to the poopsies who don't want to go outside the ring or not. IMHO Pony Club continues to be the best foundation for teaching young people about eventing, and that going forward they will, with the new specialty ratings, raise the bar on dressage and show jumping instruction as well.

That being said, Pony Club and USEA already have strong ties. I firmly believe that part of the problem is people coming to eventing NOT having come from the pony club ranks.

I strongly recommend any young person, or anyone involved with young people who want to event, to come up through USPC. You truly will get an excellent foundation and exposure to the world of eventing with safety paramount.

As to the adult program. Horsemasters is to educate adult volunteers, since unlike the old days, the vast majority of ponyclub parents have Zero horse experience. Pony Club is not, and does not want, to be a program for adults.

(Currently the US is doing a 3-year test of an increased age limit (from 21 to 25 years) to bring us in line with PC in other countries).

www.ponyclub.org is the main USPC website

http://uspc.qx.net/findaclub/uspcmap.htm will find the nearest club to you.

asterix
May. 8, 2007, 12:11 PM
FW, I agree that course design is key, and on another thread recently we had an interesting discussion along these lines -- clearly makes a difference both at upper and lower levels...

but I am afraid that if we made course design simpler at the lower levels, we would not necessarily make it safer for the ill-prepared, under-instructed or over-horsed -- they would just go faster and more carelessly. I would want to see changes in course design coupled with some better oversight of the move-up process...

FairWeather
May. 8, 2007, 12:19 PM
I would want to see changes in course design coupled with some better oversight of the move-up process...

Process? :lol:

;)

Seriously though, i'm not really talking about BN/N/ or event T courses here. Where do most serious injuries occur?

magnolia73
May. 8, 2007, 12:26 PM
I like Denny's pamphlet idea. Simple, helpful and easy enough to produce. It could even be an online publication which totally keeps the cost to nothing if people are willing to contribute content and the USEA will host it on their site. It gives riders something to judge and most importantly, a trainer some ammunition for pushy parents or overly ambitious students. It's a nice reality check. And if someone complains about you winning your last 6 novice outhings, you can say - "hey, I still can't jump a 3'3 course without eating 3 jumps and taking two flyers. USEA says I can't move up. Who am I to argue?"

I do think it needs to be edited by or even written by a well respected big name (errrrr..... Denny?) or at least people with really good credentials. I don't think Magnolia73 who has completed two tadpole events back in 1999 but got bucked off at her last during dressage warm up is exactly an authority. :lol: "You can move up when you don't look scary!!!!!"

I'm totally incapable of creating the guidelines, but I'd be happy to lay it out, and I bet we could get Mr. Mag to use some of his skills to get photos and make it even more interesting and fun. If anyone is really interested, let's start a PT or something.


Actually, I just had another thought- you could, in this day and age, have an online jumping clinic where someone like Denny or any other well regarded trainer has a review of a video. Riders could submit clips, and three could be chosen and reviewed each month and posted on the USEA ....or even on the Chronicle website. You could even have video of three full courses- one ready to move up - with commentary on why, one who is not quite there yet,but OK and one who is simply not ready for the level they are at now.

eventmom
May. 8, 2007, 12:58 PM
Anne FS, while pony club may be "a" way for "some" kids to learn the sport of eventing, it is absolulty not the only way for all kids! Your shameless advertisement of ponyclub as the end all to beat all for kids is from my perspective, discusting. We tried pony club with our daughter for a year and it was a joke. The kids were being pushed through the ranks based on who their instructor was and who they bought their ponies from! My daughters on the other hand are getting excellent instruction from a number of great eventers in our area. My 10 year old just successfully completed her first BN recognized event, on her pony that she is making, and she is going to the YRAP camp this summer. My daughters are learning far more out of pony club than they ever could have in it. It may be different where you are, but please don't make these blanket statements. It is not for everyone.

CarolinaHurricane
May. 8, 2007, 12:58 PM
I am an eventer and I also am a veterinarian who does "vet checks" for endurance events.

I think we SHOULD do lameness/conditioning jogs before and after cross-country for recognized events. We watch the endurance horses go anywhere from 24hrs to 30min prior to their race. We then check them every 15-25 miles (temp, HR, heart sounds, gut sounds, hydration status, mentality, back soreness, tack galls, and they trot down and back). Anything over a 1/5 lame is pulled and cannot continue. It takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the horse. We have ~4-5 vets per event and it is run like an assembly line. The horses are pre-checked by volunteers and their HR must be under 60 before presentation to the vet (and they have a certain amount of time to get there).

When I have to "spin" a horse, the competitors are rarely angry and most don't try to dispute--they want to save their horse for another day. I also tell competitors about the 1/5 lamenesses I see, and sure enough, those horses get worse and get pulled later on. If a lame horse gets through dressage, in our sport, that's that--free to continue. It's pretty easy to disguise a lameness under saddle. . . Some horses have mechanical lamenesses and don't get worse and are fine--as you get to know the horses you get to know the pattern, so those aren't punished (hence the 1/5 cut-off).

I am just amazed by how many people cannot recognize lameness in their horse--and that's why I think a general shift to doing lameness checks in some or all levels of eventing would be prudent. It would require more organization and time, as any change will, but could potentially lead to an improvenet in horse welfare.

cu later
May. 8, 2007, 01:10 PM
Anne FS, while pony club may be "a" way for "some" kids to learn the sport of eventing, it is absolulty not the only way for all kids! Your shameless advertisement of ponyclub as the end all to beat all for kids is from my perspective, discusting. We tried pony club with our daughter for a year and it was a joke. The kids were being pushed through the ranks based on who their instructor was and who they bought their ponies from! My daughters on the other hand are getting excellent instruction from a number of great eventers in our area. My 10 year old just successfully completed her first BN recognized event, on her pony that she is making, and she is going to the YRAP camp this summer. My daughters are learning far more out of pony club than they ever could have in it. It may be different where you are, but please don't make these blanket statements. It is not for everyone.

Well I guess not all things work for all people. There is one thing they do well at Rallys and Championships. All horses are jogged in front of a vet prior to their starting in the Rally. If the horse shows unsoundness and it can not be corrected, then they can not particpate.

cu later

wanderlust
May. 8, 2007, 01:13 PM
Anne FS, while pony club may be "a" way for "some" kids to learn the sport of eventing, it is absolulty not the only way for all kids! <snip> My daughters are learning far more out of pony club than they ever could have in it. It may be different where you are, but please don't make these blanket statements. It is not for everyone. I 100% agree, eventmom. Pony club is only as good as its instructors, and where I am, a lot of the instructors are sadly lacking. We share our facility with an eventing "trainer" who has a barn full of pony clubbers, and they are terrifying to watch. They regularly crash and fall in their lessons, gallop hell-bent at fence heights they shouldn't be jumping, and ride horses totally unsuitable for their skill levels. In fact, the best young riders I've seen in California either are not involved with pony club at all, or are in pony club but their regular trainers pick and choose which mounted meetings they are allowed to attend based on the instructor.

I would much sooner advocate a parent seek out a GOOD trainer than enroll their child in pony club if they are looking for safety and proper instruction.

Paks
May. 8, 2007, 01:17 PM
Everyone is saying that riders need to prepare more. So my question is this. Entry form require a trainer's signature, so why are trainers letting students move up? I think education of both the students and instructors needs to improve. I recall riding with the only eventing trainer in my area, and at the only barn within 45 minutes that taught lessons. I went years without knowing how inadequate my education was. I went to my second event ever and she didn't coach me (though my parents were still charged). My horse bucked me halfway around the dressage warm-up. She was watching an old student in stadium. Cross country was running *gasp* 15 minutes ahead of schedule. I had no idea that I didn't have to go until my assigned time. I walked, trotted, cantered, and jumped one jump before racing to the start box. Where was my coach? Helping her daughter tack up when her daughter's ride was in two hours.

The USEA instructor certification program has done a lot to ensure that instructors are trained and their contact info is available to us, but there are still many other people coaching riders with little or no qualifications. I can't imagine this would affect the upper levels, but perhaps the USEA should require the coach's signature to be a certified instructor with an appropriate certification level? This might motivate others to get certified, and require riders to ride with a suitable instructor. Thus theoretically improving the safety of the lower levels by improving rider/horse preparedness.

Please lets not make eventing another coach dependant sport like hunter/jumpers where competitors can't do anything including read the rule book or warm up a horse without a trainer holding their hand. Most people show up at events without coaches.

Right now many of the eventing rules are set up to encourage the riders to be independant and responsible for themselves and their mount. Such as no one but the competitor riding the horse at the competition. No unauthorized assitance while on course. This reflects both it's military and pony club roots. The solultion is not to make them dependant on a coach but to figure out a way to incentize safe controled riding while not making the course so technical they are dangerous.

It would really be sad if eventers became the same hot house flower competitors we see in the H/J arena.

flutie1
May. 8, 2007, 01:17 PM
"... Does this all just get binned when it hits USEA?"

It goes to USEF now.

Gnep
May. 8, 2007, 01:33 PM
So I got some of the infos from Kraut Country.

Their system is very complex and based on the system of the Rider Medals and aktual show success.

The Rider Medal is a system of Tests, similar to PC Ratings.
Theoretical knwoledge and aktual riding skills

Than they have a show rating system, based on Dressge Test, Stadium jumping heights and amount of jumps and combinations, and length of the x-c, average heights and amount of jumps and combis.
C rated is BN and N
B rated is Training, Prelim and a easy Intermediat/B
A rated can go from Training to Advanced

One can ride C with out any special Qualifikations, but for Novice the little Rider Medal is needed, Rider Medal Class 4 and the Rider is graded as a Class 6 rider
For B, Training Level requieres the RM 4 class 6 rider
For B, Prelim RM 3, and placings as a class 6, and/or a qualifikations test

It goes on and on rather complicated system.

The system ist based on non competion tests and on competion results


So now I am going to load logs for CHP

Erin
May. 8, 2007, 01:42 PM
I think we SHOULD do lameness/conditioning jogs before and after cross-country for recognized events.

That sounds awfully time-intensive (and volunteer-intensive). In the MD/NoVA area, you can have 3 events going on the same weekend. I'm not sure there are enough vets to go around!

Plus, I just don't think you can compare BN-T, or even prelim HT, to an endurance ride. Is there a big problem with lame horses at lower level HT? Dangerously unfit horses? By the time you get to prelim, where you really DO need a fitness program, you should be under the guidance of a trainer or know enough yourself to be able to tell if your horse is unduly stressed.

The judge has the option to DQ you in dressage if your horse looks off, btw. I had it happen to me on my ancient and arthritic Appy pony when I was about 9. :D No, I didn't know enough (nor did my mom) to notice that he was slightly off, but the judge did.

annikak
May. 8, 2007, 01:44 PM
Goodness, I guess you did not have a good experience. For many, it IS a great way to enter the world, with safety at the forefront. Having had 3 kids in, all with varying results, one A, one C2 and one D1 who deciding riding was not for him, well, each and every one of them got something good out of it. I am sorry you did not have such a good experience. For my kids, it was great!:yes:

They have always stressed safety first, and each mounted anything starts with a safety check.

really, a shameless advertisement for an organization that is run by volunteers? I don't think that that post was advertising, I think they had a positive PC experience. I think that for a great part, PC is enjoyed by many.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating. USPC currently has a program for adults- I am told it is coming up for a vote this next BOG meeting and that IF it passes, PC will be for adults, too! Sure, different format, but same guiding principles.

[\quote=eventmom;2417566]Anne FS, while pony club may be "a" way for "some" kids to learn the sport of eventing, it is absolulty not the only way for all kids! Your shameless advertisement of ponyclub as the end all to beat all for kids is from my perspective, discusting. We tried pony club with our daughter for a year and it was a joke. The kids were being pushed through the ranks based on who their instructor was and who they bought their ponies from! My daughters on the other hand are getting excellent instruction from a number of great eventers in our area. My 10 year old just successfully completed her first BN recognized event, on her pony that she is making, and she is going to the YRAP camp this summer. My daughters are learning far more out of pony club than they ever could have in it. It may be different where you are, but please don't make these blanket statements. It is not for everyone.[/quote]

eqsiu
May. 8, 2007, 02:15 PM
Please lets not make eventing another coach dependant sport like hunter/jumpers where competitors can't do anything including read the rule book or warm up a horse without a trainer holding their hand. Most people show up at events without coaches.

Right now many of the eventing rules are set up to encourage the riders to be independant and responsible for themselves and their mount. Such as no one but the competitor riding the horse at the competition. No unauthorized assitance while on course. This reflects both it's military and pony club roots. The solultion is not to make them dependant on a coach but to figure out a way to incentize safe controled riding while not making the course so technical they are dangerous.

It would really be sad if eventers became the same hot house flower competitors we see in the H/J arena.

I don't see what is wrong with requiring evaluation by a certified instructor. Even people that go to events alone, and I have been one of those since I was 15, have to have a coach's signature on their entry forms. Frankly, there is no way to get unsafe riders to accept that they aren't safe. The incentive needs to come from an outside source. It shouldn't affect how a person competes, it should affect how a person prepares for a competition. Plus, requiring the coach's signature to come from a certified intructor would circumvent the difficulties (financial, time, organizational) a rider certification program would present.

LisaB
May. 8, 2007, 02:16 PM
I've heard exactly what eventmom has said, unfortunately. And instead, they are at the mercy of mom's wits to know right from wrong. A lot of times this doesn't happen and the kid goes to some schmuck that is more of a salesman than an horseman. The kid and mom are none the wiser and the kid is dangerous but doesn't know it. (Not you, eventmom!)
And us adult are completely in the dark. We either luck into a good instructor or somehow manage to get a good line on people who will steer them in the right direction.
Here's a thought:
There are written tests for PC, right? Why can't we enforce these tests on everyone? It's better than nothing. Make an e-form, we get a passing grade to do a level. At least we would know where a leg is. I constantly try to observe ground work to learn more but it's a struggle.
About vet checks. I've seen where riders are DQ-d by a dr judge or someone tips of the TD. We all are so tuned into soundness, we notice it a mile away. I've seen it happen.
Maybe the issue is that we need to be self-regulating. The TD can't be everywhere at once. Not looking for a witch hunt but know the rules, and be observant. The rules are there, we just need to enforce them. We can't enforce them unless we see them.

vineyridge
May. 8, 2007, 02:24 PM
How about a passport for riders?

I know the USEA keeps track of points, but a passport for a rider could show all events entered, all XC and SJ penalties and type of fence, and clinics taken and tests passed. And any other relevant information, like eliminations and horse injuries.

It would be a start toward the German system as described by Gnep. A rider wouldn't be able to move up unless the passport met certain objective standards.

I still like the idea of a form of roads and tracks, followed by a vet check. The time would need to be tight enough so the horse would be pushed into competition mode, but wouldn't be as demanding as XC.

Paks
May. 8, 2007, 02:39 PM
I don't see what is wrong with requiring evaluation by a certified instructor. Even people that go to events alone, and I have been one of those since I was 15, have to have a coach's signature on their entry forms. Frankly, there is no way to get unsafe riders to accept that they aren't safe. The incentive needs to come from an outside source. It shouldn't affect how a person competes, it should affect how a person prepares for a competition. Plus, requiring the coach's signature to come from a certified intructor would circumvent the difficulties (financial, time, organizational) a rider certification program would present.

Actually if you look at it, it is a trainers signature on the form and the only requirement for trainer is some one who is an adult and legally responible for the horse's care so they have someone to nail if the drug test comes back positive. I sincerely doubt some one who is certifying that a person is qualified to ride at a certain level would want to take on that particular responsibility.

My daughter competes without a coach/trainer. She has a dressage trainer and a jumper trainer as she also competes in dressage and jumpers. The cross country training is done via clinics and practices under my eye.
On her entry form the rider and trainer name are the same as she manages the horses care and training.

Certificaitons in the area of instruction in this country has always been frought with contoversy. This often includes the feeling that someone who wants to be certified is "unofficially" required to be a regular attendee of any clinics seminars etc that the certifying officials offer. Basically it becomes a very big money maker for the certifiers.

Certifiers would also have a tendancy to stamp their style of riding as the only correct style of riding. But the real "correct" way is often different for each horse and rider combination. Watch the leaf pit at morven sometime.

I also remember a discusion between two top trainers one insisted the only safe way to jump was to sit back, upright and steady the horse the other said not in this case. Look at the size of the rider and look at the movement the horse makes over the top of the fence. If she sits back there is no way she can stay with that movement she needs to be in a forward seat on this horse. If both of them were certifiers one would have said yes and one no for the same ride.

I will say one thing though with all that money going into the hands of the certifiers and the trainers who are certified the events wouldn't fill up as quickly because there wouldn't be much money left over for entry fees.

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 03:06 PM
As to the adult program. Horsemasters is to educate adult volunteers, since unlike the old days, the vast majority of ponyclub parents have Zero horse experience. Pony Club is not, and does not want, to be a program for adults.


You are obviously more involved with Pony Club than I am currently, but the publication "Liaison Guidelines for USPC Horsemasters Groups" suggests that it is not merely a program to train Pony Club parents to volunteer. On page one, it states

This program will develop future Pony Club volunteers by sharing our well-known curriculum to enhance knowledge in both Horse Management and mounted activities

And later on p. 1, a quote from Larry Byers:

"In USPC, one of our strengths is our progressive educational tracks that incorporate horse care as well as riding. This test program, to introduce adults without a horse background to these skill areas, is our first step in helping make educated, caring horsemen that are part of a cohesive horse community in which all of our organizations will benefit. [my emphasis]

Finally, on page 2 the Guidelines explain that

So many adults would love to be involved in helping out with Pony Club if they could benefit from the instruction our youth members receive. The Horsemasters program will provide the groundwork for this instruction. [my emphasis]

The Guidelines go on to explain how Horsemasters can get Bronze and Silver awards for proficiency in various areas, mounted and unmounted. They are on the USPC website under Forms.

Sounds like the makings of a great symbiotic relationship to me. The USEA gets more knowledgable competitors and Pony Clubs get more volunteers (sometimes for USEA sanctioned events that the clubs hold!). At present it is just a pilot program-- maybe we should push the USEA to get more involved and expand the program?

poltroon
May. 8, 2007, 03:11 PM
I can't disagree.. but it is easy to just say the routine excuse "inexperience" about BN/Novice etc. Without real data collected you can't really know can you? BN and Novice should be designed to be lovely rides, inviting and encouraging for horse and rider. Are they getting technical? I know lots of lower level riders that want drops into water, bounces on course and corners. They dream of getting the big stuff the larger levels get. And it seems organizers are trying to give it to them. What about the normal learning, progression that builds the experience?

One of my concerns has always been that we don't introduce the complicated questions until Prelim - where the height is bigger and the speed is faster. I'd rather a horse and rider pair were able to see something like a skinny at a lower height and speed first. Maybe we just need to make sure those obstacles are available at schooling venues. Maybe we can have a separate "novice horse" and "novice rider" COURSE at some venues so that riders on schoolmasters can try a novice height skinny and riders on babies can have a nice inviting gallopy experience. Or even set them up as option fences - that the rider can choose the inviting fence or the more challenging one.

All this said, our problem is not really with Novice, but with Advanced. And I agree with others that when no horse jumps a fence smoothly and in rhythm, it's really not a good question - tearing the horse down rather than building him up. I want to see at least a few copybook rounds for cross-country, and if the course design has gotten too technical, then we should back it off. It's OK to have the best riders in the country (and the world) finishing on their dressage score.

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 03:12 PM
Here are some of the riding standards for the Silver Level Award in Horsemasters. It seems congruent with Beginner Novice. To see more of the material, go to http://www.ponyclub.org/forms.php and scroll down to H for Horsemasters.


Silver Level Award Riding Over Fences
Candidate must have previously attained the Silver Level Award on the Flat, the Bronze Level
Award Over Fences.
Candidate should ride with confidence and control on the flat and over fences, demonstrating a
basic balanced position and use of natural aids.
Perform simple gymnastic exercises for rider over trotting poles, followed by small jump (2'3").
Ride over small grid (three fences, not to exceed 2'3").
Ride over jumping course of six to eight obstacles; include a two-stride combination; obstacles
not to exceed 2'9".
Discuss performance with Evaluator, including steadiness of pace, reasons for any disobediences
and ways ride could be improved.

Silver Level Award Riding in the Open
Candidate must have previously attained the Silver Level Award Over Fences.
Ride safely with control in a group, on a suitable mount, at the walk, trot, and canter.
Discuss and/or demonstrate, if time available, riding safely over varied terrain, including hills,
ditches, low banks, flat open area and streams.
Discuss ways to control a mount in the open.
Speed should not exceed 325 meters per minute to 350 meters per minute.
Ride over several cross-country obstacles, not to exceed 2'9" in height.
Discuss performance with Evaluator giving reasons for any disobediences.

eventmom
May. 8, 2007, 03:12 PM
Whenever I see people try to put safety into a nice neat little package, I get nervous. There will be stupid people in this world. It cannot be stopped. It is darwinianism, (not that I believe in evolution!). So, you offer a safety check to stupid people and they use it as an excuse to be unsafe somewhere else! "but I did a safety check" is the banner cry!!! Safety at it's most basic level is just plain common sense. Some people got it, and some don't. I laugh that you say pony club stresses safety. Ah, so that's how they justify those kids who are way over mounted. They are in pony club, therefore safe! Anymore, those safety checks are really just about insurance and liability. If you want the sport of eventing to be safe, the last thing to do would be another safety check!
I guess what I am saying is that safety checks becomes a comfortable net for the ignorant to lay in and justify their unsafe behavior, while someone else is forced to take responsibility for their actions.

Eventer13
May. 8, 2007, 03:19 PM
One of my concerns has always been that we don't introduce the complicated questions until Prelim - where the height is bigger and the speed is faster. I'd rather a horse and rider pair were able to see something like a skinny at a lower height and speed first.

I have to disagree. I know of several novice courses with half-coffins, and I've found skinnies are common at training. Lots of combinations, esp at training. Not that prelim is not a huge step up, but I do think there are many course designers that introduce tougher questions at N & T.

sassparella
May. 8, 2007, 03:21 PM
In a letter dated November 1, 2004, Jack Pollard (father of Michael) wrote something that made quite an impression on me. I remember thinking that I should re-read the letter in a few years…


“My biggest complaint is not whether the format is right but that (the) powers that be made these changes based solely on money.

I don't know of anything that is based strictly on saving money that turns out very positive.

We had better take some money and do some real research and figure this out before we have, God forbid, many more accidents.

This problem cannot be left to the riders. It needs to handled by someone that has the ability to look at this from a scientific perspective.”


The full text of the letter can be found at:

http://www.eventingetc.com/2004/oct_dec/reports/report_letters_editorial.htm

poltroon
May. 8, 2007, 03:25 PM
Pony club is pretty weak here on the west coast because most riders doing english disciplines out here are urban riders, and urban riders don't generally have their own trailer. So Pony Club only works for them if it's at their local barn. Most eventing trainers out here are making their living teaching adult riders, and Pony Club has not had a place for adult riders. So unless you happen to be at a barn with a lot of kids, there isn't much Pony Club opportunity. I would've loved to do PC as a kid - the nearest one was over an hour away.

The good news is that all the eventing coaches I've worked with have been very safety oriented, and the Pony Club influence is very strong in their teaching.

poltroon
May. 8, 2007, 03:28 PM
I have to disagree. I know of several novice courses with half-coffins, and I've found skinnies are common at training. Lots of combinations, esp at training. Not that prelim is not a huge step up, but I do think there are many course designers that introduce tougher questions at N & T.

Sorry, speaking from the 10-years-ago era where we didn't see those kinds of questions. I am hearing (from several sources, though have not seen for myself) that the novice courses are getting more technical.

poltroon
May. 8, 2007, 03:37 PM
I have other duties here in the office that, unfortunately, do not revolve around Safety concerns. And I do not want to pawn off on my staff the task of putting together all that information when I'm the one who was intimately involved.

I don't want to pick on you - obviously you're overworked (and underpaid) as we all are, and I appreciate you taking the time to let people know what's forthcoming. We can be patient.

However, there's something in that particular turn of phrase that bugs me that I just have to get off my chest, which is the implication that Safety is just one tiny piece of the myriad USEA duties. Which of course it is, BUT

If eventing is perceived as unsafe, everything else USEA does is irrelevant.

I don't perceive it as unsafe, because I am experienced and I know the sport and my limits, regardless of what rules are or aren't. But no one will take up eventing if they fear that they or their horse will be catastrophically injured. Dressage gets stronger every year as amateur eventers get older and chickener.

Maybe a strategic rethink is needed at USEA to make safety a higher priority for everyone on staff.

cu later
May. 8, 2007, 03:46 PM
Whenever I see people try to put safety into a nice neat little package, I get nervous. There will be stupid people in this world. It cannot be stopped. It is darwinianism, (not that I believe in evolution!). So, you offer a safety check to stupid people and they use it as an excuse to be unsafe somewhere else! "but I did a safety check" is the banner cry!!! Safety at it's most basic level is just plain common sense. Some people got it, and some don't. I laugh that you say pony club stresses safety. Ah, so that's how they justify those kids who are way over mounted. They are in pony club, therefore safe! Anymore, those safety checks are really just about insurance and liability. If you want the sport of eventing to be safe, the last thing to do would be another safety check!
I guess what I am saying is that safety checks becomes a comfortable net for the ignorant to lay in and justify their unsafe behavior, while someone else is forced to take responsibility for their actions.

Eventmom you're so cynical. I think you will find that many of the horses at the lower levels of PC are moved from member to member as they are grown out of. Safety checks serve two purposes one to make sure the PC'r is properly dressed and the horse properly tacked up for their respective task but more importantly so that the PC'r learns how to properly prepare themselves and the horse. I guess you could learn from a book. Safety checks have existed as long as I can remember. Insurance and Liabilty is the result of a litigious society often who do not want to accept responsibility for their own actions.

You should take your issue with PC to another thread. Instead look at the concept behind it and how we can all benefit from that concept.

cu later

cu later

Janet
May. 8, 2007, 03:46 PM
Are there any USEA regulations about who can sign as a trainer? USEF rules

GR145 Trainer.
1. Any adult, or adults who has the responsibility for the care, training, custody or performance of a horse.
2. Said person must sign the entry blank of any Licensed Competition whether said person be an owner, rider, agent and/or coach as well as trainer.
3. Where a minor exhibitor has no trainer, a parent or guardian must sign and assume responsibility of trainer.
4. The name of the trainer must be designated as such on the entry blank. See also GR404.

GR404 Responsibility and Accountability of Trainers.
1. A trainer is defined as any adult or adults who has or shares the responsibility for the care, training, custody, condition, or performance of a horse and/or pony. Said person must sign the entry blank of any Licensed Competition whether said person be a trainer, owner, rider, agent and/or coach. Where a minor exhibitor has no trainer, then a parent, guardian or agent or representative thereof must sign the entry blank and assume responsibility as trainer. The name of the trainer must be designated as such on the entry blank. It is the responsibility of trainers as well as competition management to see that entry blanks contain all of the required information.
2. Trainers in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary are responsible and accountable under the penalty provisions of these rules:
a. for the condition of a horse or pony at a Licensed Competition (whether or not they have signed an entry blank),
b. to guard each horse and/or pony at, and sufficiently prior to, a Licensed Competition such as to prevent the administration by anyone of, or its exposure to, any forbidden substance, and
c. to know all of the provisions of this Chapter 4 (including any advisories or interpretations published in EQUESTRIAN) and all other rules and regulations of the Federation and the penalty provisions of said rules. For purposes of this rule, substantial evidence means affirmative evidence of such a clear and definite nature as to establish that said trainer, or any employee or agent of the trainer, was, in fact, not responsible or accountable for the condition of the horse and/or pony. If any trainer is prevented from performing his or her duties, including responsibility for the condition of the horses and/or ponies in his or her care, by illness or other cause, or is absent from any Licensed Competition where horses and/or ponies under his or her care are entered and stabled, he or she must immediately notify the competition secretary and, at the same time, a substitute must be appointed by the trainer and such substitute must place his or her name on the entry blank forthwith. Such substitution does not relieve the regular trainer of his/her responsibility and accountability under this rule; however, the substitute trainer is equally responsible and accountable for the condition of such horses and/or ponies.
3. The trainer and owner acknowledge that the trainer represents the owner regarding horses and/or ponies being trained or managed, entries, scratches for any reason and any act performed on any horse and/or pony under the care and custody of the trainer.
4. In the case of a horse and/or pony competing under the Therapeutic Substance Provisions, any trainer or other person subject to these rules who actually administers, attempts to administer, instructs, aids, conspires with another to administer or employs anyone who administers or attempts to administer a forbidden substance to a horse and/or pony which might affect the performance of said horse and/or pony at a competition licensed by the Federation without complying with GR411, is subject to the penalties provided in GR406.
5. Any trainer or person subject to these rules who administers, attempts to administer, instructs, aids, conspires with another to administer or employs anyone who administers or attempts to administer any substance to a horse and/or pony by injection or by any other route of administration, whether the substance is forbidden or permitted, in the competition ring of a competition licensed by the Federation during a scheduled class, is subject to the penalties provided in GR406.

War Admiral
May. 8, 2007, 03:55 PM
I still like the idea of a form of roads and tracks, followed by a vet check. The time would need to be tight enough so the horse would be pushed into competition mode, but wouldn't be as demanding as XC.

This makes loads of sense to me! :yes:

sm
May. 8, 2007, 04:27 PM
All I know is:

- I’m putting together breed awards for other disciplines. The award program consists of reading recommended books and going to a few shows. Books will have a test that need to be taken before one can qualify for awards. Shows require a medium score be met, all shows with different judges. Then, viola, you have your award/recognition.

- For eventing, I can make the courses for the award long format only, with written tests along the way to ensure people are getting the knowledge they need. I think long format ONLY is a better way to ensure riders are fit, but then again, I’m flexible because I’m not the expert on this.

- I can get behind the USEA for eventing, not the USEF or FEI.

But does any of these things I can do help, or not? Because quite frankly, my goal is to the betterment of the north american thoroughbred and rider. In other words: USEA is all about setting standards on eventing, I'm all about the thoroughbred. Whatever flexibility I have in establishing breed award criteria, and I do have considerable flexibility, I am more than happy to help if I can.

PS. I certianly don’t mind joining a larger group and asking the FEI to take responsibility for the short format fatalities, through some sort of petition regarding legal action, although I can’t find the numbers and the specific details on fatalities in the last ten years to see if this will hold up. Hmmm, go figure, missing numbers on something so critical. (If you think legal action is harsh, it’s not. It may be the one thing that gets FEIs attention long enough to slow them down a tiny bit from making more poor decisions.) Anyway, I think I must be from the school, "the best defense is a good offense." Or maybe it's just the FEI has nothing on the Jockey Club: in comparison the FEI is totally short on dollars, short on history, and short on marbles.




.
So, I`d rather get behind the USEA, not the USEF or FEI, and try to help the levels which ARE the sport, numbers wise, and where I might actually be able to do some good.
It`s not that I`m disinterested in the highest levels, so much as I don`t think "they" really care one way or another what I or the rest of us may think, so long as we keep providing them support, money, venues to ride, pictures on the magazine covers, and the various accoutrements of fame and glory.
I`m sure I was just like them 30 years ago.
So I`m feeling like that famous Biblical saying, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar`s, render unto God that which is God`s."
Let the USEF and the FEI worry about the top levels, and let me try to do what I can to make some positive contributions to the 4 lower levels where the enormous majority of us actually ride and compete.
Anything else feels like hitting my head against the cement wall of upper level indifference.



There are lots of real, down to earth things WE can do to help our fellow riders.
One simple suggestion made YEARS ago by the late Randy May, former Area One Chairman:
Write a pamphlet (on line, or print, or both) entitled something like: "HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU AND YOUR HORSE ARE READY TO MOVE UP".
Isn`t one of you willing to spearhead that? Could we also fund such a pamphlet? That`s another real contribution we could make to the USEA.
There must be plenty of similar initiatives just waiting to be implemented.
Name a few, if you can think of some.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 04:27 PM
I don't want to pick on you - obviously you're overworked (and underpaid) as we all are, and I appreciate you taking the time to let people know what's forthcoming. We can be patient.

However, there's something in that particular turn of phrase that bugs me that I just have to get off my chest, which is the implication that Safety is just one tiny piece of the myriad USEA duties. Which of course it is, BUT

If eventing is perceived as unsafe, everything else USEA does is irrelevant.

I don't perceive it as unsafe, because I am experienced and I know the sport and my limits, regardless of what rules are or aren't. But no one will take up eventing if they fear that they or their horse will be catastrophically injured. Dressage gets stronger every year as amateur eventers get older and chickener.

Maybe a strategic rethink is needed at USEA to make safety a higher priority for everyone on staff.

But see, I work for USEF. And oversee ALL competitions and ALL accidents, both human & equine for ALL breeds and disciplines.
As concerned as I am for eventing, since I am an eventer, I am also concerned about the horrible roadster accident that happened in South Carolina 2 weeks ago, and the horrible accident that happened in the schooling ring in Del Mar on Sunday.

And I will never complain about being overworked or underpaid. I love my job, and hope that someday what I do will make a difference in the sport. My goal in my position is to be that difference maker.
Which is why I am pushing to get the data so that we can make better decisions for the whole of equestrian sport.

I have no doubt that safety is on the very top of the list at USEA. I know so. And it is here too. But I do need a little time to compile the discussions that took place 2 weeks ago. I apologize for the delay, but I do promise it will get done and it will be made public.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 04:38 PM
Thank you for being open here, Leigh Anne. It goes a long way to making sure whatever choices and decisons are made will be supported.

As for the short format being the culprit, your comment goes right in hand with my statement that the FEI made a decision with NO data whatsoever to back it up. They simply said it will be better for the horse. They operated on a knee-jerk response to the IOC and that is why many don't trust them. At the same time, yes there is a study in the UK at a CIC** and a CCI** run concurrently that showed NO difference between the requirements on the horse physically which means the CIC is just as hard as a CCI and contradicts the FEI statements.

Reed

Reed,

I absolutely agree with you about the FEI & the decision to go short format. Unofficially, and in no way in my role as Federation employee, I disagree with the short format. I believe we knew how to get ourselves & our horses fit for the long format, and that we don't for the short.
This could be part of the problem we are seeing. (The above statement is very very unofficial.)

The USEF Safety Committee takes all of this very very seriously. And we intend to be an open book with changes we are going to suggest. I believe the USEF Eventing committee is already discussing some of them.

My point is that we can't be knee jerk in our response in any way. I've had non-event people say to me that we need to shut down the sport. Well, that would certainly curtail the number of serious injuries and fatalities, but is it the right thing to do? I'd say not, but there are those who disagree.

Please, keep the suggestions coming. Just know that while we are working hard, some of the proposed changes will take time. And may not be easily accomplished.

Gnep
May. 8, 2007, 04:42 PM
Certification could be done during a horseshow.
If you are a novice rider, you could do a novice HT and than at the same show a training certification.Ride a training dressage, go a stadium, and than selected x-c jumps were you are judged on equitation and maybe have a little quiz befor you do the jumps or combies, how you are going to ride it, discuss striding etc.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 04:42 PM
I don't doubt that, but is the information readily available, as it is to the Endurance community?

See http://www.aerc.org/Vet_Fatality_Reports.asp

No, but again, because it hasn't been collected in any consistent format.
USEF really didn't even have a Safety committee until a few years ago, so it's all a major work in progress.

Which is why I welcome and appreciate your comments and suggestions. They help me know where I need to go. But please, your derision does not help me. So if you could hold back on that, I'd be grateful. :winkgrin:

And just a side note, so you are aware, I've only been with the Federation since August, and just took over the Safety Committee in January. Believe me, I know I have work to do. And I know it's vital to the sport, not only eventing, but equestrian sport as a whole.

We will get it done.

TB or not TB?
May. 8, 2007, 05:27 PM
Write a pamphlet (on line, or print, or both) entitled something like: "HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU AND YOUR HORSE ARE READY TO MOVE UP".
Isn`t one of you willing to spearhead that? Could we also fund such a pamphlet? That`s another real contribution we could make to the USEA.
There must be plenty of similar initiatives just waiting to be implemented.
Name a few, if you can think of some.

On the pamphlet theme, how about one like "How to condition horse and rider for a Novice Horse Trials," with one for each level.

Maybe something on how to choose an instructor or what do do if you have no coach?

Does the USEA have any publications like these at all? I don't know of any but perhaps thers do.

ToucheToujour
May. 8, 2007, 05:33 PM
I have to disagree. I know of several novice courses with half-coffins, and I've found skinnies are common at training. Lots of combinations, esp at training. Not that prelim is not a huge step up, but I do think there are many course designers that introduce tougher questions at N & T.

I've seen kids unable to get their ponies through Plantation Fields' "sunken road" which, if you've walked that course, not a particularly difficult question. The problem isn't asking the questions, the problem is teaching kids (and adults!) to ride the combination correctly.

I'm spending tomorrow afternoon in the airport, where I'll have a printed out copy of this (well, it won't be entirely up to date, but it'll be current as of tonight) and I'm going to go through and highlight things. This is an excellent discussion.

I too really think one of the answers would be 'a medium format' with a roads and tracks addition after cross country. Not too long, and not too strenuous, but to prove the horse is sound, fit and happy to be trotting and cantering on.

flyingchange
May. 8, 2007, 05:33 PM
I agree with the idea of having a roads and tracks phase or SOMETHING that tests the horse's fitness in a measurable way (ie - vitals) and that we NEED TO BRING BACK THE 10 MINUTE BOX.

Foxygrl516
May. 8, 2007, 05:34 PM
~~I LOVE the idea of a small scale roads and tracks for all levels at HTs!!! ~

Even if this is not going to stop or fix the problems and accidents that are happening at the upper levels, it WILL increase the awareness for our horse's fitness and the importance of conditioning at all levels so that when today's Novice riders become Intermediate and Advanced riders, they will have respect for their horse's fitness.
I have heard a lot of people say that 'any horse that is reasonably sane and sound can run Novice'. While I appreciate that to be an assessment of a horse's jumping ability, I think this way of thinking has put a damper on the seriousness of a horse being fit and prepared.
Also, so many people at the lower levels are still riding TBs (which I love!!!) and you have to be careful about over-conditioning TBs. I have always heard that any athletic-type TB should not need to do conditioning work until time to go Prelim. Maybe that is true, but if you have been eventing long enough to be running Prelim, then you probably have a routine and may not know how to incorporate that. They may feel more inclined to stick with what they have always done b/c it has always worked. But then we end up with horses at the upper levels that are not fit enough and riders that don't know how to get them fit.

What are the chances that we can actually make it a regular thing to have a small roads and tracks at HTs??????? I think a jog (maybe on Saturday evening after XC?) would also be beneficial in many ways! I LOVE these ideas! I would be thrilled to see this happen

TB or not TB?
May. 8, 2007, 05:36 PM
Okay I can't find the other post I was going to quote from so there we go. It was about a roads and tracks phase.

I went up to a Canadian event in Manitoba some years back, and they actually had a small R&T phase for ALL riders at all levels. The main reason for this was that the XC course was about a 10 minute trot away from the barn. :D Nonetheless they had inspectors then in the warmup area for the XC to make sure horses were coming out of it okay before the XC phase. No 10 minute box or anything but it was another opportunity to see if the horses were prepped adequately.

ToucheToujour
May. 8, 2007, 05:38 PM
Okay I can't find the other post I was going to quote from so there we go. It was about a roads and tracks phase.

I went up to a Canadian event in Manitoba some years back, and they actually had a small R&T phase for ALL riders at all levels. The main reason for this was that the XC course was about a 10 minute trot away from the barn. :D Nonetheless they had inspectors then in the warmup area for the XC to make sure horses were coming out of it okay before the XC phase. No 10 minute box or anything but it was another opportunity to see if the horses were prepped adequately.

Perhaps entirely off topic but so cool to see another Firefly fan!

CBudFrggy
May. 8, 2007, 05:52 PM
I like the idea of a shortened road-and-track for the lower levels as well. There's nothing wrong with not only measuring the horse's fitness, but the rider's fitness. Even at BN a horse and rider should be able to trot a half mile, canter another half mile and trot a third half mile. Judges would know whether the horse and rider were fit enough to get around a BN course. Of course, this is the only level I'm commenting on as its my goal for this year.

Still, there is no Pony Club all over the U.S.--there's none here for sure.

TB or not TB?
May. 8, 2007, 06:16 PM
Perhaps entirely off topic but so cool to see another Firefly fan!

Firefly is never off topic. There are horses in the theme song. ;)

But uhm as I was saying... :uhoh: I was going to mention Pony Club because it seems so tied in with this discussion. I learned an absolute ton as a PCer, not something I would trade at all. I also got so sick of the politics that I quit. Blech, still have a bad taste in my mouth thinking about that. While the information remains timelessly fabulous, I don't see PC as part of eventing's future. I'm not sure that trying to tie the organizing bodies closer is the way to go.

However the knowledge is good, so what if that part of it were shared? What if USPC and USEA released a series of books or pamphlets together like the one Denny mentioned? Maybe that's not a direction to think about, but for all those grown-up kids that missed out on the pony club experience as a youngster, it could be very helpful. I don't know. :confused: I'm just trying to think creatively.

Anne FS
May. 8, 2007, 07:39 PM
Anne FS, while pony club may be "a" way for "some" kids to learn the sport of eventing, it is absolulty not the only way for all kids! Your shameless advertisement of ponyclub as the end all to beat all for kids is from my perspective, discusting. We tried pony club with our daughter for a year and it was a joke. The kids were being pushed through the ranks based on who their instructor was and who they bought their ponies from! My daughters on the other hand are getting excellent instruction from a number of great eventers in our area. My 10 year old just successfully completed her first BN recognized event, on her pony that she is making, and she is going to the YRAP camp this summer. My daughters are learning far more out of pony club than they ever could have in it. It may be different where you are, but please don't make these blanket statements. It is not for everyone.

Yes, there are other ways, and I'm sorry you've had a bad experience. Very sorry. But it doesn't negate the good that it does and the overall quality of the program. All you have to do is look at the list of top eventers and/or Olympic medalists to see how many of them came up through pony club.

Let's see, without even looking it up:

David O'Connor
Michael Matz
Tad Coffin
J. Michael Plumb
Bernie Traurig
Karen Stives

I think these half-dozen names alone speak for the pony club program. Disgusting? I think not.

annikak
May. 8, 2007, 07:44 PM
great ideas but...

there were many reasons for the short format being adapted. One was the IOC, but there were others.

Land being primary- there is just no darn land anymore to ride on. Its too expensive and hard to maintain. So, that makes it hard to have the land needed for a full format.

Volunteers are a dying breed. There are a lot of us here that do so, but overall, any person that is involved with putting any event on knows what I am talking about. There just are not enough people that can spare the time.

There is a relationship with USPC and USEA, just not a formal one yet. There are people that are involved in both that are talking about things. The College is a great idea, and being talked about at the USEA. The time is good for this, but again, man power is needed. USPC has always been at the forefront of safety- they were the leaders in approved helmets and no one mounts unless they have an approved helmet on their head.

But I will say it again- what has happened in the past few months...well, Amy's horse did have a vet check. He passed. The horses at Badminton did also. And, none of what has happened has happened at the lower levels. Everything we have come up on this thread has been for the lower levels. The vet checks already happen at the upper level CIC's and CCI's. (okay, not really a CIC, just a quick once over)

Now one question getting back to Denny's original comment. Is there a course designer that is in common for the accidents that have happened?

Anne FS
May. 8, 2007, 07:54 PM
Oh, yeah:

Bruce Davidson
Wash Bishop
Phyllis Dawson
Nina Fout
Julie Burns
Robert Costello
Dorothy Trapp Crowell
Kerry Milliken
Linda Weisman
Jane Sleeper
William freakin' Steinkraus

(LOL)

Ok, I don't list these to brag (which would be stupid since I had nothing to do with ANY of them) but to point out that looking to an organization that teaches horsemanship and safety first has rather successful consequences. And again, eventmom, I'm really sorry about what happened to your family. Such clubs do exist, and we need to do a better job of fixing that. Best of luck to you and your daughter. Maybe even some of the "great eventers" teaching her now have a pc background.

arnika
May. 8, 2007, 08:44 PM
by vali:
even at the lower levels the fences and combinations have become much more technical and picky. You used to only see full coffins at Prelim and above, and now you frequently see full coffins with skinny elements at Training. You also see half coffins at Novice, and drops into water at Novice. At the upper levels many of the combinations don't ride smoothly and consist of awkward angles and distances. No one expects the upper levels to be easy, but I've spectated at Rolex several times and the combinations used to look fabulous if they were well-ridden. Now you just are thankful if they somehow make their way through intact. I don't think courses encourage horses to be bold jumpers anymore, and there is absolutely no room for pilot or horse error. I love eventing and the event community, but it's come to the point where I'm thinking of quitting because I'm not sure I want my two young daughters to event.

I feel that I could have written this myself.

ToucheToujour
May. 8, 2007, 08:47 PM
First, let's not make this a Pony Club argument, okay? Like any organization, PC has its strong points and its weak points. k.

Secondly, the thought that cross country is no longer a test with room to show a learning curve is an interesting one. Is there a course designer around these parts who would pop in and talk to us about that?

Anne FS
May. 8, 2007, 08:58 PM
I agree with you Touche, and wasn't trying to make it an argument.

vali's comments about the changes in the courses are really interesting.

CookiePony
May. 8, 2007, 10:26 PM
Adamsmom, I meant no derision and I hope my question re: accessibility of statistics did not come across that way. I understand that you have a mountain to scale in terms of the work there is to do. What I wanted to get across is how important I think it is to get concrete numbers that are publicly disclosed. I think we are on the same page about that.

AW
May. 8, 2007, 10:40 PM
I'm newish to eventing, so forgive me if this is SOP or has been stated - my brain is spinning trying to sort this whole thing out.

I was watching the start on Saturday morning at Rolex so that we could see more of the horses jump at least a couple of fences (pessismistic, I know!). I was watching Karen O'C warm up Teddy and I commented to a friend that I sure wouldn't be galloping that much or jumping that many fences on my way out to a 4* xc. The results explain exactly why she is Karen O'Connor and I am not, but at least I understand now what she was doing - I think - replicating a long format. Do they condition basically the same way and just make their own A, B & C? If that's a big duh, don't make fun - I've been a hunter person all my life.

As for the lower levels, I missed the Dangerous Riding meeting at the convention last winter, but wasn't part of the point that TDs could stop people who aren't ready before they head out on xc? I'm not seeing a lot wrong there. I know everyone is political and backstabbing, and I can see someone getting pulled unfairly, but honestly if all the crappy, unethical trainers still have business, do you think a pamphlet is going to work where it's most needed? You're mostly trying to reach the exact people who have the crappy trainers, and if they've drunk enough Kool-Aid to stay with said crappy trainer, they probably aren't going to read the pamphlet and wake up. But if they go to 2 or 3 events and get pulled before xc, that might send a message. That said, a pamphlet would be very helpful for those of us who want to make extra sure a horse/rider are ready. It would be even better if it included all the types of questions and how important it is to tell if your horse is mentally and physically ready, not just technically. To go even further, it could include a little on suitability of horse, including conformation, suitability of tack, etc. All the stuff you would learn in a good Pony Club or from a good trainer.

I think there has to be a way to police people/horses moving up, because obviously they aren't policing themselves. The only way that makes much sense to me is the passport/approval system, with approvals being held at events. I would quote Gnep, but my computer won't let me. Again, I can see people not being passed for personal reasons, but there must be some way to safeguard against that. Someone smarter will have to do that though.

adamsmom
May. 8, 2007, 10:43 PM
Adamsmom, I meant no derision and I hope my question re: accessibility of statistics did not come across that way. I understand that you have a mountain to scale in terms of the work there is to do. What I wanted to get across is how important I think it is to get concrete numbers that are publicly disclosed. I think we are on the same page about that.

Yes, I think we are too. There just seems to be much derision on this, and other, threads, particularly toward the USEF. Yes, it's a flawed organization. But there are many of us trying to make it better. And we do want everything to be as open and honest as we can make it. I will do my very best to make it so.
Therefore, as a lawyer I once worked with told me, you should pray for my longevity. :winkgrin:

By the way, CP, I'm in love with Horses in the Hood. Great thing that is. :yes:

Leigh Anne

TB or not TB?
May. 8, 2007, 10:54 PM
AW - Those are real concerns. One beautiful thing about eventing is that, at least at the lower levels, there isn't as MUCH of the political/backstabbing stuff as in other sports (compared to tales, for instance, my hunter friends have told me :no:). Partially because we're all just trying to complete all the phases, and there isn't much time left over for scheming :D

The other thing to note is that people being moved up ahead of time doesn't often have to do with trainers - in fact I imagine many folks who are unsure about when to move up do not have trainers that could help them make this decision. That would be where the pamphlet idea would be most appropriate. I feel like a lot of eventers might be flying blind out there, and especially if one lives in a part of the country where eventing isn't prevalent and they don't have easy access to quality instruction. Education materials can go a long way in helping these folks stay on track.

I know that even here in MN when I really wanted to move up the levels some years ago, I had trouble finding a good trainer within a 4 hour drive. There were a number of H/J folk and dressage gurus about but that's not so helpful when one wants to purely event. Fortunately for the MN community, Becky Holder moved in a couple years ago and that has really boosted the eventing scene, but there are many places just like this across the country, where people just don't have access to quality professionals.

A pamphlet isn't a substitute for training, but every little bit helps.

Erin
May. 8, 2007, 11:00 PM
I like the idea of a shortened road-and-track for the lower levels as well. There's nothing wrong with not only measuring the horse's fitness, but the rider's fitness. Even at BN a horse and rider should be able to trot a half mile, canter another half mile and trot a third half mile. Judges would know whether the horse and rider were fit enough to get around a BN course.

I don't mean to pick on you in particular, I'm just grabbing the most recent post about this idea... but, my honest reaction to this is, "Are y'all nuts?!"

Here in MD/VA, most HT run a division in one day. Ain't no way you can cram R&T into a day that's already full with D, XC, and SJ.

And more to the point, R&T was never intended to measure a horse's fitness, or be some kind of test to see if it was was fit enough to go XC. It was part of the overall endurance test. Yes, a horse that was in distress could be spun before it went out on XC, but the R&T was not a fitness test in and of itself.

I just really don't like the idea that we somehow need some "official" to tell us if our horses are fit enough to do whatever level they're doing. Let's not dumb the sport down to the lowest common denominator.

This is stuff that riders should be figuring out for themselves, with the help of their vets, trainers, etc. It shouldn't be something that is spoon-fed to them... what the heck kind of horsemen is that going to produce?

I did a couple of YR camps way back in the day where we actually went out into the forest preserve and galloped 450 m, 520 m, 800 m, etc., to learn what T, P, and steeplechase speeds felt like. And starting at training level, my trainer gave me a conditioning schedule that I followed and built upon at home. These are the basics that event riders are supposed to be learning in order to BE event riders.

I'd be all in favor of local CTAs doing clinics on pace, conditioning, etc. ... but not in favor of somehow having to past a test before you can event.

Besides, as someone else (poltroon?) mentioned, the problems aren't at BN, or training level, they're at advanced and CCIs.

slp2
May. 8, 2007, 11:19 PM
Besides, as someone else (poltroon?) mentioned, the problems aren't at BN, or training level, they're at advanced and CCIs.

Thanks Erin--that's what I keep thinking. It seems like a lot of this discussion is focusing on what to do about unprepared or "scary" lower level riders. However, the high profile problems that brought this issue to a head is at the upper levels. Problems are occuring with very accomplished riders (and horses). I haven't seen any epidemic of lower level rider / horse injuries or deaths.

poopoo
May. 8, 2007, 11:20 PM
Besides, as someone else (poltroon?) mentioned, the problems aren't at BN, or training level, they're at advanced and CCIs.

That's the part everyone seems to be dismissing. If the accidents are happening with some of the best riders and horses, that makes me think there's a problem with the courses ....

vali
May. 8, 2007, 11:30 PM
While the majority of deaths have happened at the upper levels, some deaths and many injuries happen at the lower levels. I remember an upper level British rider died a few years ago while competing at Prelim, and we had a death in our area at Training as well. At Ram Tap recently I was appalled at how many riders were coming off their horses, and some of them ended up leaving in the ambulance. The weather probably contributed, but I think there are a lot of riders starting to event who are lacking some basic horsemanship skills. I also think that course design at the lower levels is important is also important because it influences how horses and riders develop as they progress up the levels. While I may be arguing against my own interests, because my horses rarely stop in competition (I think my last stop was in 2000 moving up to Prelim), and we usually move up after dressage, I do think that the courses at the lower levels should be more forgiving. I think young horses should gain confidence and enjoy going forward, and I don't like seeing so many stops on cross country.

vineyridge
May. 8, 2007, 11:49 PM
I don't mean to pick on you in particular, I'm just grabbing the most recent post about this idea... but, my honest reaction to this is, "Are y'all nuts?!"

Here in MD/VA, most HT run a division in one day. Ain't no way you can cram R&T into a day that's already full with D, XC, and SJ.

And more to the point, R&T was never intended to measure a horse's fitness, or be some kind of test to see if it was was fit enough to go XC. It was part of the overall endurance test. Yes, a horse that was in distress could be spun before it went out on XC, but the R&T was not a fitness test in and of itself.

I just really don't like the idea that we somehow need some "official" to tell us if our horses are fit enough to do whatever level they're doing. Let's not dumb the sport down to the lowest common denominator.

This is stuff that riders should be figuring out for themselves, with the help of their vets, trainers, etc. It shouldn't be something that is spoon-fed to them... what the heck kind of horsemen is that going to produce?

1) It wouldn't produce any worse horsepeople than endurance with all its emphasis on conditioned horses produces.

2) Maybe I'm overly cynical, but a horse that comes in from XC, is given IV fluid, and iced to within an inch of its life, could be iced again the morning before the Sunday jog. It's brought back, to overexaggerate, from the half dead. Lack of conditioning or minor lameness from XC can be treated so the horse jogs sound; and given these techniques, perhaps OVER TIME endurance conditioning might be skimped in favor of other kinds of training. But to my thinking, a horse that needs that kind of "Heroic" intervention to go on to SJ probably isn't in the best condition to begin with.

3) The suggestion of a Roads and Tracks phase is to ensure that the horse is actually warmed up to competition standards and can pass a vet check before beginning XC. It would provide the equivalent of the ten minute box. As it is now, with the short format, the horse is NEVER checked at competition (working) levels. That is a MAJOR difference between short and long format, and one that could well be implicated in all the problems.

wanderlust
May. 9, 2007, 12:01 AM
I was watching the start on Saturday morning at Rolex so that we could see more of the horses jump at least a couple of fences (pessismistic, I know!). I was watching Karen O'C warm up Teddy and I commented to a friend that I sure wouldn't be galloping that much or jumping that many fences on my way out to a 4* xc. The results explain exactly why she is Karen O'Connor and I am not, but at least I understand now what she was doing - I think - replicating a long format. Do they condition basically the same way and just make their own A, B & C? If that's a big duh, don't make fun - I've been a hunter person all my life.

Bingo, AW. I was at Rolex a few years back for the first short-format track, and that is what all the riders did in warmup. Trotted around for ages, then galloped on and jumped quite a bit, then back to trotting around before heading to the start.


but honestly if all the crappy, unethical trainers still have business, do you think a pamphlet is going to work where it's most needed? You're mostly trying to reach the exact people who have the crappy trainers, and if they've drunk enough Kool-Aid to stay with said crappy trainer, they probably aren't going to read the pamphlet and wake up.

Again, very accurate observation. For the life of me, I can't figure out why 25 sets of parents at our facility let their children get run away with, thrown, and crashed through fences over and over and over again... and then all stand around and cheer and hoot and holler when their kid finally makes it over, but a pamphlet is not going to help these folks.


I think there has to be a way to police people/horses moving up, because obviously they aren't policing themselves.
Well, technically there are rules for how many clean events one must complete at training before moving up to prelim. I think the problem is that horrifically bad riding can still come up with a clean round when you are jumping the basic questions that occur at the BN/N levels. So, if you went around clean, it must mean you are good and ready to move up, right? You see the same thing in the jumper world at anything below the 3'7" AA/Childrens' jumper levels, and then those folks hit that height and are all of a sudden totally over their heads (contributing to more horrifically scary rides, but this time that don't win because the fence height is no longer forgiving). The major difference in the h/j world is that because trainers are right there, and their reputation rides on the performances of their clients, they tend to forbid the underprepared from entering classes above their skill level. But I'm rambling now, and I'm not sure how we could parlay that into eventing...

silver2
May. 9, 2007, 12:04 AM
Well apparently some things are the same as they were 10 years ago, ie rain and mass carnage at Ram Tap ;)

wanderlust
May. 9, 2007, 12:26 AM
Well apparently some things are the same as they were 10 years ago, ie rain and mass carnage at Ram Tap ;)
Ram Tap is the 10th circle of hell.

AW
May. 9, 2007, 01:31 AM
Erin: "I just really don't like the idea that we somehow need some "official" to tell us if our horses are fit enough to do whatever level they're doing. Let's not dumb the sport down to the lowest common denominator.
This is stuff that riders should be figuring out for themselves, with the help of their vets, trainers, etc. It shouldn't be something that is spoon-fed to them... what the heck kind of horsemen is that going to produce?
I did a couple of YR camps way back in the day where we actually went out into the forest preserve and galloped 450 m, 520 m, 800 m, etc., to learn what T, P, and steeplechase speeds felt like. And starting at training level, my trainer gave me a conditioning schedule that I followed and built upon at home. These are the basics that event riders are supposed to be learning in order to BE event riders.
I'd be all in favor of local CTAs doing clinics on pace, conditioning, etc. ... but not in favor of somehow having to past a test before you can event.
Besides, as someone else (poltroon?) mentioned, the problems aren't at BN, or training level, they're at advanced and CCIs."

But Erin, that's exactly the problem. Lots of people don't have a trainer, and if they do, the trainer may well be crap. They don't know that they don't know, so they aren't going to ask their vet or anyone else about it. How else are they supposed to find out, or learn that they have to find out, if an official doesn't tell them? In an ideal world all the children would be in great Pony Club chapters and we would all thirst for knowledge of how to do this sport correctly. And all the hunters would go like Ruxton and Stocking Stuffer instead of Zips Chocolate Chip, and Salinero would look happy in his work, and Impressive would never have won anything, and everyone would do their own work and there would be no grooms because we were turning out such consumate horsemen. Apparently though, some people are ignorant, some people are lazy, and some people are stupid - and some of those people want to event. They aren't going to do right just because it's right, so sometimes they have to be made to. All the clinics in the world won't help if people don't come, or come and think they already know it all. What's the harm in passing a test while you're already there showing? It wouldn't be the SAT, there would be no algebra or chemistry involved, it would just prove that you are ready to handle the next level's increased risks to yourself and your horse. Don't think of it as catering to the LCD, because really it's elevating them so they're as good as they can be.

You know, you're really lucky to live where there is good help readily available. We had an ULR come here last year. He didn't want to teach BN or N because he figured that everyone gets good help at the lower levels and he didn't want to waste peoples' money telling them the same things their own trainer was saying. I think he was frightenend. I was. He will be teaching the lower levels this year. I don't know why I include that, but that's what it's really like - here we have people who will event, then go run barrels, then chase a calf, then go on a 3 day trail ride on the same horse in the same week. They're having a great time, but if they have any guidance it's not good. They have no idea that there is an optimum time, or if their horse is sound (or if bute is good or bad), or in some cases that you do indeed have to do all 3 "classes" at the show. And I am not kidding. Again, these people will probably not be clinicing, but if a TD stops them on their way to the start box, it will make an impression.


slp2: "It seems like a lot of this discussion is focusing on what to do about unprepared or "scary" lower level riders. However, the high profile problems that brought this issue to a head is at the upper levels. Problems are occuring with very accomplished riders (and horses). I haven't seen any epidemic of lower level rider / horse injuries or deaths."

I know that the big problems are at the higher levels, but maybe that's because the speed and technicality makes it less forgiving of the same kinds of mistakes being made at BN/N? I would think that most horses can get out of their own way over a fence at BN pace, not so much in a combination at advanced speed. And besides, I'm pretty sure this thread is about what the majority of eventers want the sport to be, not what the upper 5% are doing. One would hope they could look out for themselves.

Erin
May. 9, 2007, 07:04 AM
But Erin, that's exactly the problem. Lots of people don't have a trainer, and if they do, the trainer may well be crap. They don't know that they don't know, so they aren't going to ask their vet or anyone else about it. How else are they supposed to find out, or learn that they have to find out, if an official doesn't tell them?

The job of the officials is to enforce the rules and ensure the safety of the event, NOT to teach the riders. It is a competition, not a training exercise. And no matter WHAT you do, people are still going to be lazy, stupid, and ignorant.

No one would ever suggest having an official tell a dressage rider in the warmup whether or not her horse was properly through. The competition sorts that out.

People are lamenting that the short format was implemented without any data to back it up... well, where's the data saying that there are untrained masses who are undue dangers to themselves and their horses at the lower levels? Other than the anecdotal "Ooh, I saw this really scary combination at XYZ HT recently..." Do the scary people get hurt with any more frequency than the non-scary people? Do their horses?

Erin
May. 9, 2007, 07:21 AM
1) It wouldn't produce any worse horsepeople than endurance with all its emphasis on conditioned horses produces.

There's a world of difference between even a 25-mile endurance ride and a BN, N or T horse trial. An endurance ride is comparable to a three-day, not a HT.


2) Maybe I'm overly cynical, but a horse that comes in from XC, is given IV fluid, and iced to within an inch of its life, could be iced again the morning before the Sunday jog. It's brought back, to overexaggerate, from the half dead. Lack of conditioning or minor lameness from XC can be treated so the horse jogs sound; and given these techniques, perhaps OVER TIME endurance conditioning might be skimped in favor of other kinds of training. But to my thinking, a horse that needs that kind of "Heroic" intervention to go on to SJ probably isn't in the best condition to begin with.

Are we still talking about the lower levels here? Because in 25 years plus of eventing up through P, I've never seen a horse given IVs or iced as a matter of course after XC.

At CCIs, yes, because those are elite athletes being asked to perform at the very upper limits of what horses can do... the same stuff goes on in NBA and NFL locker rooms after every game. Do you think Teddy wasn't iced and given IVs after XC at Rolex? Is it only "bad" if the horse had a scary round and not a brilliant one?


3) The suggestion of a Roads and Tracks phase is to ensure that the horse is actually warmed up to competition standards and can pass a vet check before beginning XC. It would provide the equivalent of the ten minute box. As it is now, with the short format, the horse is NEVER checked at competition (working) levels. That is a MAJOR difference between short and long format, and one that could well be implicated in all the problems.

Are you talking about proper warmup, or conditioning? Because those are two different things, and the only way to test the latter is to STRESS the horse (as steeplechase used to do). And a lame horse isn't going to be any lamer at 1 pm for the start of XC than he was at 8 am for the dressage (where he already would have been eliminated if he was lame).

If you want to ensure that horses at HT are properly fit for their jobs, the only way to do that at a competition is to evaluate them AFTER XC. I'm still not convinced that it's necessary, or feasible, at the HT level, though.

FairWeather
May. 9, 2007, 07:48 AM
That's the part everyone seems to be dismissing. If the accidents are happening with some of the best riders and horses, that makes me think there's a problem with the courses ....

Hey! that makes two of us!

I'm still waiting for someone to chime in about the differences in courses now versus 10 and 20 years ago, but I keep getting lost in the battle of the Pony Clubbers ;)
Perhaps a new thread?

FairWeather
May. 9, 2007, 07:50 AM
. and then all stand around and cheer and hoot and holler when their kid finally makes it over, but a pamphlet is not going to help these folks.


I think that an informative pamphlet would be beneficial to those people who want to reach out and absorb the information, of which I'm sure there would be plenty.

redlight
May. 9, 2007, 09:03 AM
Excuse me if this has already been mentioned but I didn't read every post. Since we are talking about problems to be solved at the Advanced level why doesn't the USEA and USEF hold a forum for Advanced riders to see what THEY want to do about the sport. Since alot at what happens at the upper levels trickles down to the lower levels I think it makes sense to only include these riders. Jersey Fresh is coming up and there could be one on the West coast as well. I think the number of people on the Safety Committee that was named is too small. And let's get something done besides talking and agreeing to have more meetings! While I agree that we should be moving towards a certification process for trainers we need to do something in the short run so that the tide of fatalities is halted. Another idea I have and maybe this part should be on the safety thread is to have organizers publish the percentage of maximum height cross country efforts in the omnibus. The descriptions for some events is vague at best. It would certainly make planning one's schedule better instead of showing up and seeing the cross country course is harder than you thought and having to make a decision to run or not. I know there are many who are smart enough to scratch but how about those people who don't want to "waste" their entry money?

As to the poster mentioning that Hunter/Jumper trainers don't send their students into the ring unless they are prepared in order to protect their reputation-have you stood by the ingate at some of the local jumper shows? There are alot of scary trainers and riders out there! And by the way I've seen plenty of scary event riders on xc and sj too.

frugalannie
May. 9, 2007, 09:11 AM
Are being made because of Denny's well-articulated frustration. As he pointed out, the vast majority of eventers are participating at the levels below prelim. Further, he noted that the issues at the uppermost levels appear to be different from those at prelim and below.

So, he asked what the lower level issues are.

The analogy I would use (as a recovering epidemiologist) is that if you have a population where many people have fallen ill, coughing and hacking, its terribly tempting to believe they are all suffering from the same malady. But there could be two or more different causes, which are spread differently and require different, specific treatments.

What we're seeing in eventing are the signs and symptoms of what are likely many different issues. It will be very, very hard work to tease apart the causes and to then develop the remedies. As Leigh Anne has noted, there's a committee working on it. Frankly, I'd be inclined to disregard their findings if they were able to report out their findings and solutions on the basis of one short weekend's work. She and they need to take the time to really study the issues and think about them, IMHO. I appreciate that, through Leigh Anne, they have indicated that they will share their findings as they are made, rather than wait until they finish. They'll run the risk of exposing some mistakes (which, of course, we will all identify:yes: ), but that should improve the final outcome.

At the same time, we can and should think of anything we can that will help at any level. This is a great venue for information sharing and brainstorming. And sometimes, even producing something of great value.